Wednesday 17 January 2018

Passenger horror as plane door left open at 10,000ft

"Windy sound" reported

Screengrab: YouTube/SpiegelTV
Screengrab: YouTube/SpiegelTV

Lizzie Porter & Soo Kim

A Korean passenger jet was forced to turn around after a door was left open, with video footage showing air rushing through the gap.

An aeroplane flying at 10,000ft had to make a turnaround when one of its doors was found left open, with passengers capturing the terrifying noise of rushing air on video and describing scenes of chaos on board.

A “windy sound” was heard on board the Jin Air Boeing 737-800 carrying 163 passengers, which officials admitted was due to a “gap in the door”.

One passenger on the route to South Korea took mobile phone footage from inside the plane of the visibly open door. A whistling sound of air escaping from the crack between the fuselage and the door is audible on the video (below).

Some passengers reported nausea and ear pain during the flight, symptoms that resemble those reported in instances of a slow loss of cabin pressure, which can lead to a fatal lack of oxygen on board.

Jeff McDonald, an American who has worked in South Korea for eight years, told Telegraph Travel he was on the flight and saw a small boy "rolling back and forth holding his ears", laid out across two seats. "In hindsight I think he really was in pain and wasn’t over-acting."

Mr McDonald said he "knew something was really wrong" as he described how the plane "flew kind of erratically." He said he heard other passengers asking stewards why the flight was turning round, but said they were only told it was due to "a noise".

He said he was not aware it was because of an open door and "started to go over all the different situations in case of a crash landing...I knew that a bad noise couldn’t be good so I told my girlfriend again what to do in case we crashed over land or water and how to act differently."

One traveller interviewed by South Korean radio claimed that he saw the curtain dividing the crew and passenger areas blowing inwards and realised that something was wrong as other passengers began to complain of pain in their ears.

The passenger, referred to only as "Kim", reported an "excruciating feeling" like that of an "eardrum being torn", and seeing a gap between the fuselage and the plane door "just [wide] enough for a pinky finger to fit through."

A Jin Air official admitted that the sounds might have been caused by the plane's front door not being completely closed.

“We presume that the windy sound came from a gap in the door, which could have led to a drop in cabin pressure.” he told South Korean agency Yonhap News.

Officials said there were no serious injuries or hospitalisations, although travellers were delayed by 15 hours.

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