Man who opened Asiana plane door says he wanted out 'quickly'
South Korean police reported that the man felt suffocated, causing him to open the door in a hurry.
The South Korean authorities said a man who opened the emergency exit on an Asiana Airlines airplane in midair felt "suffocated" and hurriedly wanted to leave.
On a domestic trip, the aircraft was carrying close to 200 passengers when it drew closer to the ground on Friday at Daegu International Airport, roughly 240 kilometers (149 miles) southeast of Seoul.
The man, who authorities said was in his 30s, opened the aircraft door while it was around 200 meters (650 feet) in the air.
Daegu police apprehended the man, who told officers he was "under stress after losing a job recently".
A police officer told AFP that "He felt the flight was taking longer than it should have been and felt suffocated inside the cabin" and that he "Wanted out quickly."
For breaking the rules governing flight safety, the traveler might spend up to 10 years in jail.
One passenger recorded a video of the door being torn open, with the fabric seatbacks and passengers' hair fluttering wildly.
Another video posted to social media showed passengers being buffeted by high gusts of wind while seated in the emergency escape row adjacent to an open door.
According to the transport ministry, 12 people were transported to the hospital after suffering from respiratory problems, but no serious injuries or damage were reported.
A 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap that "It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board."
"I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this."
According to a representative of the transport ministry, this was "the first such incident" in the history of Korean aviation.