Korean Air Plane Drops 26,900 Feet Mid-Flight, Forced To Land

A Korean Air flight had to make an emergency landing due to a critical malfunction on Saturday, during which it plummeted 26,900 feet in 15 minutes, leading to the hospitalization of 17 passengers.

Passengers on Korean Air flight KE189 arrived safely in Taichung, Taiwan, a day after the flight was rerouted to Incheon International Airport.

About 50 minutes into the flight on Saturday, the Boeing 737 Max 8 experienced a pressurization system failure that activated alarms, causing the plane to descend rapidly, as recorded by Flightradar24.

Seventeen passengers experienced symptoms such as hyperventilation and ear pain, requiring hospital treatment in Taichung, Taiwan. Korean Air stated that these passengers received medical attention in Korea and were released without serious injuries.

Originally scheduled to depart for Taiwan at 4:45 PM on June 22, the flight with 125 passengers returned to Incheon Airport three hours after takeoff following the emergency, as reported by Korea JoongAng Daily.

The aircraft made its way back to the departure airport by 7:38 PM. Despite the harrowing experience, no severe injuries were reported.

The airline resumed service the following morning with a different plane after completing an investigation into the incident.

Passengers recounted moments of panic and distress, with oxygen masks released and children crying amidst the rapid descent. One passenger, referred to as Tseng by The Taipei Times, recounted the distress among children when the oxygen masks were deployed.

He expressed fear over the possibility of the aircraft crashing.

A Korean Air representative stated that the airline is diligently investigating the pressurization failure to rectify any maintenance issues before the aircraft returns to service.

Earlier this year, a Korean Airlines plane had a minor collision with a Cathay Pacific Airways plane at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan, resulting in no injuries.

Last year, Korean Air announced on its website that it would begin assessing the average weight of passengers and their hand luggage for safety reasons, following a similar initiative by Air New Zealand in June of the previous year.

Earlier this month, Singapore Airlines compensated passengers injured due to severe turbulence on a flight to London last month, offering $10,000 each for minor injuries and discussing further compensation for more severe cases.

Korean Air emphasized its cooperation with authorities to thoroughly investigate the recent incident and provided comprehensive support to the affected passengers, including accommodations, meals, and transportation.

Korean Air also issued an apology to everyone impacted by the incident.