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South Korean passenger arrested for opening emergency door midair

A South Korean passenger was arrested on Friday for allegedly opening an emergency door during a flight from Jeju to Daegu, causing air to blast inside the cabin and panic among the passengers, according to officials.

The passenger, whose identity and motive were not disclosed, opened the door minutes before the Asiana Airlines Airbus A321-200 plane was due to land at Daegu International Airport, at an altitude of about 200 meters.

Some people aboard the flight tried to stop the passenger from opening the door but it was eventually opened partially, the Transport Ministry said. The plane with 194 people on board landed safely at around 12:45 p.m. local time.

A video apparently taken by a passenger and aired on television showed the moments before the landing, with a door open and wind rushing in as passengers sat nearby. The cabin crew had made an in-flight announcement asking if there were any doctors on board.

Nine people, all teenagers, were sent to hospital after suffering breathing issues, a Daegu fire department official said. No one was seriously injured in the incident.

The passengers included 38 elementary and middle school students who were heading to Daegu for track and field competitions.

Police took the passenger into custody and authorities were investigating violations of aviation safety laws. The Transport Ministry also said it was looking into whether Asiana Airlines had followed protocols to manage emergency exits.

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