Passengers feared they were going to die when man opened plane door mid-flight

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Twelve people were hospitalised after a passenger opened an emergency exit door aboard an Asiana Airlines flight in South Korea, officials say.

The man, who appears to have been sat next to or near the hatch, unlocked it and swung it open during the descent to landing while the Airbus jet was still some 250 metres above ground.

He was arrested upon landing after the plane landed safely but has so far refused to explain his actions.

One of the 194 passengers aboard the flight told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency: ‘It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board through broadcasting.

‘I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this’.

Some people fainted during the incident, with footage showing intense winds battering seated passengers from the gap in the port side of the cabin.

Passengers included schoolchildren and a youth athletic team. Witnesses described hearing young people screaming and crying.

Among those taken to hospital, injuries included breathing problems and severe ear pain, though all made a full recovery.

The suspect, in his 30s, was not drunk at the time, authorities have confirmed.

An official said: ‘It is difficult to have a normal conversation with him. We will investigate the motive of the crime and punish him.’

He is suspected of violating aviation laws, which cover improper use of exit doors and other plane equipment and can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

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