A passenger ripped open the emergency exit door of an Asiana Airlines Airbus A321 earlier today. How is that even possible? The answer lies in the altitude of the plane.
Passenger Successfully Opens Emergency Exit Door On Asiana A321
The incident occurred earlier today on Asiana Airlines flight OZ8124 from Jeju (CJU) to Daegu (TAE), a 205-mile domestic flight within South Korea. As the Airbus A321 was on final approach, a passenger only identified as a man in his 30s seated in the emergency exit row successfully opened the emergency exit door. That deployed the emergency slide, which promptly ripped off.
Door of Asiana Airlines plane opens in mid-air just before landing in South Korea; 9 people taken to hospital with breathing difficulties pic.twitter.com/rUI6LTRihj
— BNO News (@BNONews) May 26, 2023
Police detained a 33-year-old man on suspicions of pulling the door lever on a Asiana A-321 from Jeju – Daegu 👀
— Thenewarea51 (@thenewarea51) May 26, 2023
— Thenewarea51 (@thenewarea51) May 26, 2023
About a minute before landing, the left aft-wing emergency door L3 on Asiana flight #OZ8124 was opened. The inflatable chute – housed below the door – deployed and was ripped off in the airstream. https://t.co/0q4mwO9GYv
A321 L3 door operation: https://t.co/LRhQL4In7d pic.twitter.com/WsAfvPVGGV
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) May 26, 2023
When you open a door like that in-flight, everything tends to be sucked out. Remarkably, neither the perpetrator nor any others in the cabin were pulled out. Reports indicate that the man who opened the door was restrained from jumping out.
Upon landing, the 33-year-old was arrested and nine passengers were taken to an area hospital, complaining of breathing difficulties. No motive has been established yet and the identity of the perpetrator has not been released.
How Did The Man Manage To Get The Door Open?
While opening an aircraft emergency exit door is impossible when the airliner is high in the air due to the cabin pressurization requiring superhuman strength to open it, it does become possible…though difficult…when the plane is at a lower altitude.
Opening this door was no small feat, but the incident occurred approximately 60 seconds prior to landing, meaning that the aircraft was well below 10,000 feet. It still took some serious strength to open this door, but not Herculean strength.
The use of seatbelts explains why passengers were not sucked out, however I am not clear why the man was not sucked out. He should consider himself very fortunate.
A man forced open the emergency exit door of an Asiana A321 earlier today about a minute prior to arrival in Daegu. He was not sucked out and is now in police custody. Nine passengers were injured, but no life-threatening injuries have been reported.
This story is a reminder that where this is a will, there is a way…let’s hope there are not copycat crimes committed in the days ahead. For that reason, we will not name the perpetrator, even when his identity is revealed.
image: @thenewarea51 / Twitter
What reading Tim Dunn comments does to a mf.
That, or maybe he got misgendered.
Playing physicist here, and I’m almost certainly vastly oversimplifying things.
At altitude, an open door or busted window would suck things out primarily because of the pressure differential. Depressurizing the cabin at that point would involve removing a lot of air and the things (people) in that air (essentially, the outside of the plane acts like a vacuum) At this low altitude, the pressure differential (and hence depressurization) is minimal (if present at all). Effectively, there’s no vacuum to suck anything out. The same physical factors that allowed him to open the door made it so he wasn’t automatically sucked out.
Correct. That being said, I’m surpised everyone keeps saying the door wouldn’t open at higher altitudes despite the negative pressie on the exterior of the plane reducing the force required to open the door. However, I’m surprised the forces from the airflow doesn’t/didn’t prevent the opening of the door? I’ll be curious to read more findings in this situation.
If the door opened outwards, the negative pressure would reduce the force needed to open it. However, modern plug doors need to be opened inwards first, so the negative pressure on the exterior increases the force needed to do that, essentially holding it in place.
It’s opened out in the photo? Am I missing something?
Disregard. I think I understand your comment correctly now. They open inward first slightly, then outward.
At altitude, there is no chance someone could open the door. Flying at 30,000 ft with cabin pressure of 10,000 ft, a 6′ x 4′ exit door would have 20,000 lbs of force holding it closed.
Three additional factors in this case .
First, the cabin pressure is slowly increased as the plane descends so that it reach ground level as it is about to land. Each aircraft has a “port” on the bottom of the fuselage that the pilots open at low altitude that equalizes the inside and outside pressure.
Second, from the video, it looks like the door was cracked open, not fully open. With the plane traveling at about 140 mph, it would likely be impossible to swing the door fully open.
Finally, the exit slide. This is automatically deployed when the door is opened (if the flight attendants “armed” the doors). I don’t think the slide will deploy with the door only partially open, but I’m not sure of this one.
Does anyone with a knowledge of these things ( if there is such a thing) know if a slide could ever get sucked into an engine at low altitude when a exit door is deployed as in this incident? It seems like it would be very serious.
Since it is aft of the engines, no. If someone did it to the boarding door, possibly. Now, it could possibly hang on the tail flaps and cause an issue. I would still say the probability is likely very low give it is higher than the slide. Maybe during ascent?
At what point does the crew de-pressurize the cabin? It feels like that had already happened…
It’s pressurisation, not the “forces of gravity”, that prevent doors being opened mid flight.
I saw a report that said the guy was feeling claustrophobic and felt like he couldn’t breathe and had to get out. Apparently stressed as he had recently lost his job.
At 700 feet the pressures were equal. I fly doorless Cessnas at higher altitudes than a measly 700 feet. No issues.
I do wonder where the slide ended up or how he was able to jack with the door long enough without others pulling him off. Maybe they thought they would get Goldfingered if they were close to door.
– Original Transformers movie – of kid seeing autobots battle it out while his mom is screaming