South Korean police have launched an investigation after Asiana Airlines said a passenger opened a door on a flight shortly before the aircraft landed safely in the city of Daegu.
The Airbus A321 plane landed at Daegu airport at about 12.40pm (0340 BST) after departing from the island of Jeju an hour earlier, the airport’s flight schedule showed.
No one was hurt in the incident, but nine people were taken to a nearby hospital after suffering breathing issues, a Daegu fire department official said. These included eight schoolchildren from Jeju, according to Jeju’s education office.
Authorities were questioning a passenger near an emergency exit row, Asiana officials said. One official said: “Police are investigating the incident after a passenger who was sitting near the emergency exit said he touched its lever.”
The plane was a few minutes from landing when a male passenger sitting next to an emergency door opened a cover and pulled a lever so the door opened about 200 metres (656ft) above ground, an Asiana spokesperson said.
All people onboard were seated with seatbelts fastened because the plane was about to land, the spokesperson added.