A South Korean passenger plane operated by low cost airline company Jin Air was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing after it was found that one of the doors on the aircraft was not completely shut. According to CNN, the alarming incident happened on Sunday during a flight from Cebu, Philippines to Busan, South Korea. The report adds that the aircraft was already 40 minutes into the flight when it was discovered that one of the doors was not completely shut. The plane was at an altitude of 10,000 feet when the incident happened. The aircraft involved in the incident was a Boeing 737-800, which is a twin-jet, single aisle, narrow body plane. There were a total of 163 people on board the aircraft on the day of the incident, Yahoo News said.
According to a Jin Air public relations officer, 40 minutes after takeoff, the crew members noticed a strange noise coming from one of the doors of the plane. They later saw a gap in the door and alerted the captain immediately. He returned the plane to Cebu at the same airport from where the plane had taken off less than an hour ago. The cabin crew also made an in-flight announcement to the the passengers about the problem before they turned back to Cebu.
According to several South Korean media outlets, there were no injuries reported following the incident. However, several passengers on board the plane complained of nausea as the aircraft made its approach toward Cebu airport. At this time, it remains unclear if the health of the passengers was affected due to the problem with the door.
— 7News Yahoo7 (@Y7News) January 6, 2016
The captain eventually did manage to land the plane safely. The passengers were put up in a local hotel by Jin Air and were eventually taken to Korea on the same flight 15 hours later. A Jin Air spokesperson confirmed that the affected passengers would also be compensated for the inconvenience by paying them each 100,000 Korean Won. While that might sound like a lot of money, it only translates to just under $85 per passenger.
“Each passenger will be given a compensation of 100,000 won ($84.28),” the Jin Air spokesperson confirmed.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the Jin Air incident has already been launched by the South Korean Transport Ministry, confirmed a senior official. At this time, it remains unclear if the incident was caused due to sheer negligence or whether there was a mechanical failure on the aircraft.
— TheGlobalflight✈ (@TheGlobalflight) January 6, 2016
Doors on modern passenger jets have multiple fail-safe mechanisms and are known to be over-engineered in order to avoid any untoward incidents. Also, once airborne, the pressure differential between the aircraft and the outside air is usually very significant, making it almost impossible to open the doors from the inside. Only a thorough investigation could reveal what actually happened on this Jin Air flight.
Following the incident, the South Korean Transport ministry announced that they would carry out independent safety inspections on several low-cost airlines operating in the country. This precaution is to ensure that the airline companies adhere to all safety norms and ensure passenger safety. The airline companies that fall under the radar include Jin Air, Air Busan, Jeju Air, Easter Jet, T’way Air and Air Incheon.
The Jin Air incident comes at a time when the global aviation industry has been hit by several fatal crashes. The industry has been in a state of turmoil especially since the Malaysia Airlines MH370 disaster in 2014. This was followed by the MH17 and Air Asia Flight 8501 crashes a few months later. In 2015, the aviation industry witnessed the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash that left 150 people dead.
[Image via Aero Icarus/Flickr]