Injuries Abound After Plane Drops 25K Feet in 5 Minutes

Nosebleeds, headaches reported amid cabin pressure drop on Korean Air Flight KE189
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
Injuries Abound After Plane Drops 25K Feet in 5 Minutes
A Korean Airlines jet plane approaches Los Angeles International Airport in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

It was a terrifying descent for 125 passengers aboard a Korean Air flight that departed Incheon, South Korea, on Saturday, only to quickly return when the plane's pressurization system failed. A fault occurred less than an hour after takeoff as the plane bound for Taichung, Taiwan, was flying over the East China Sea, reports the Taipei Times. Data from Flightradar24 showed the Boeing 737 Max 8 dropped nearly 25,000 feet, or about 7,600 meters, in five minutes, per Business Insider. One passenger said he feared the plane would smash into the ground, per the Times. Another compared the feeling to being on an extreme roller coaster, per the New York Post.

Video shared on social media showed passengers using oxygen masks. Children cried and some passengers hyperventilated, per Insider. There were also reports of nosebleeds, per the Post. The pilots ultimately turned around for an emergency landing back in Incheon. At least 13 passengers were later hospitalized with head and/or ear pain, per Insider. Other passengers were provided with overnight accommodations before another flight departed for Taichung on Monday. A spokesperson stressed the airline's commitment to safety while noting it was "fully cooperating with all relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. ... We apologize to all affected." (More emergency landing stories.)

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