A 26-year-old woman, reportedly under the influence of methamphetamine, made multiple attempts to open the emergency door aboard a Korean Air flight, according to a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency.
The episode unfolded during a transcontinental flight from New York to Incheon, with the woman reportedly showing signs of anxiety approximately about 10 hours after take-off. The flight crew successfully restrained the passenger and alerted airport authorities. She was arrested upon landing at Incheon International Airport.
According to Korea JoongAng Daily, the woman then tested positive for taking meth. Authorities in South Korea, where drug use is strictly prohibited for citizens no matter the national’s location, are now contemplating legal repercussions for the troubled passenger.
The woman spent the last six months in New York and had no documented history of mental illness. She now faces a 10-year prison sentence for attempting to open the emergency exit, in addition to another 10 years behind bars or a fine of 100 million won (7,060 euros) for drug use.
This incident marks the third time this year that a passenger has tried to tamper with an aircraft’s emergency exit in South Korea. In a similar event in May, a 32-year-old man successfully opened an emergency door 200 meters above ground on a flight from Jeju to Daegu. He received a five-year suspended sentence, with the court attributing the decision to a need for urgent mental treatment.
Another case in June involved a 19-year-old, also under the influence of drugs, attempting to open the door during a flight from Cebu to Incheon, resulting in a three-year prison sentence.