The Korea Herald


Teenager arrested for attempting to open plane door mid-flight

By Yonhap

Published : June 20, 2023 - 20:20

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INCHEON -- Police on Tuesday arrested a teenager who attempted to open an emergency door during a flight the previous day.

The Incheon District Court in Incheon, about 30 kilometers west of Seoul, issued an arrest warrant for the 19-year-old, on charges of violations of the Aviation Security Act and the Narcotics Control Act.

The suspect, whose identity was withheld, was taken into custody Monday by the Incheon International Airport Police Corps after unsuccessfully trying to open the emergency exit door of a Jeju Air flight traveling from Cebu, the Philippines, to Incheon, with about 180 passengers on board.

During the investigation, the suspect tested positive for illegal drugs, the police said.

According to police, the suspect began behaving strangely and attempted to open the emergency door at around 5:30 a.m., about an hour after takeoff. He was restrained by flight attendants and passengers before being handed over to the Incheon airport police afterward.

The emergency exit did not open due to air pressure difference and the plane's safety system, and no one was hurt in the incident.

The suspect had reportedly dropped out of high school and was on his way home after staying in Cebu alone for about a month, police said.

During questioning, he did not confess to a clear motive for the crime and asked investigators irrelevant questions, like "how many life vests are there on an airplane?" or "whether all flight attendants would be fired if the emergency door is opened." But police said he has no psychiatric treatment records.

Considering his erratic behavior, law enforcement conducted a drug test, which yielded a positive result.

The police have requested the National Forensic Service to conduct a thorough analysis to determine the specific type of drugs involved and the frequency of his drug use.

The incident took place in less than a month since a man in his 30s forced open the emergency exit door on an Asiana Airlines flight en route to the southeastern city of Daegu from Jeju on May 26. (Yonhap)