Korean Air Boeing 737 Drops Almost 27,000 Feet and Flies in Circles for Five Minutes Shortly After Takeoff

Screenshot: nancy10in/Instagram

A Korean Air Boeing 737 Max 8 bound for Taiwan experienced a near-catastrophic failure shortly after taking off from Incheon International Airport this Saturday, plunging 26,900 feet and executing multiple erratic loops before stabilizing.

The plane departed from Incheon International Airport at 4:45 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.

The aircraft detected an issue with its pressurization system while flying over South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju.

Data from Flight Radar cited by Business Insider reveals that roughly 50 minutes after taking off, the plane began descending sharply, dropping nearly five miles in 15 minutes. This was a harrowing experience for the 125 passengers onboard.

Commercial jet airliners usually cruise at altitudes ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 feet. If we assume the aircraft was flying at the upper limit of this range, around 40,000 feet, it then rapidly descended to 14,000 feet within 15 minutes.

Screenshot: Flight Radar

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, 15 individuals suffered injuries ranging from eardrum pain to severe hyperventilation, necessitating emergency medical attention for 13 of them upon the plane’s troubled return to Incheon. Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported.

Independent reported:

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

[…]

Korean Air, in a statement shared with The Independent, said: “17 passengers have been attended to by medical professionals in Korea, and have been discharged without severe injuries.”

[…]

Despite the frightening ordeal, there were no major injuries reported. The flight resumed the next morning with a different aircraft, following investigations into the incident by Korean Air.

Passengers described scenes of panic and distress onboard, with oxygen masks deployed and children crying during the sudden descent. One passenger, who was identified as Tseng by The Taipei Times, told the outlet that children on the flight were crying when oxygen masks were deployed during the flight’s plunge.

He said he was afraid that the plane might hit the ground.

Meanwhile, a Korean Air spokesperson was reported as saying that the airline is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the pressurisation system malfunction, intending to address any maintenance issues before returning the aircraft to service.

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