SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean court issued an arrest warrant on Sunday for a passenger who opened an Asiana Airlines plane door minutes before it landed in Daegu, South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The man, in his thirties, was detained on landing on Friday after opening the door when the A321-200 plane was about 700 feet (213 metres) above the ground, causing panic onboard.
The Daegu District Court issued the warrant for him on charges of violating the Aviation Security Act, saying there was a risk he might try to flee before trial. The warrant allows police to keep him in custody longer.
He was not charged at the hearing.
Officials gave the man’s surname as Lee but not his full name, as is usual custom.
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Lee said he opened the door because he wanted to get off the plane quickly.
“I feel really sorry for the kids,” he told reporters as he was escorted to the Daegu court for a hearing on Sunday, apparently referring to students who were on board and taken to hospital with breathing issues.
They were all discharged after about two hours, a fire department official said.
Asiana stopped sales of the seats closest to the exit on the A321-200 airbus model starting on Sunday, Yonhap said.
Asiana could not be immediately reached for comment outside business hours.
A South Korean Transport Ministry official said on Friday that it was possible to open emergency exits at or near ground level because the pressure inside and outside the cabin is similar.
(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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