South Korean Air
Image Credit: Twitter

Manila: Thirteen passengers on a Korean Air flight were hospitalised after the plane experienced a "sudden uncontrolled decompression" 50 minutes into the flight.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Departing from Incheon International Airport at 4:45 pm local time on June 22, the Korean Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 (HL8352), carrying 125 passengers, reportedly encountered pressurisation issues over Jeju Island.

Flight KE189, which departed from Incheon and was heading to Taiwan, turned back to Seoul after remaining on a holding pattern for around 30 minutes, social media posts purportedly showing videos taken by some passengers show.

Approximately 50 minutes after takeoff from Runway 16L, the message “pressure system (pressure control function of the aircraft) abnormality” was displayed over Jeju Island forcing the cockpit to decide an air turn back.

A TikTok video from inside the flight showed oxygen masks deployed as the plane rapidly descended.

Media reports quoting Flightradar24 data stated that the aircraft dropped from 35,000 feet to 9,000 feet in 10 minutes,

The flight returned to Incheon International Airport at 7:38 pm. Fifteen passengers experienced ear pain and hyperventilation, with 13 needing hospitalisation.

No serious injuries were reported. Korean Air arranged accommodations and rescheduled the flight, which successfully reached Taichung on June 23.

An official from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport was quoted as saying: “There was a process of lowering the altitude just before returning to port. At that time, it was determined that there were two people with nosebleeds, one person who complained of discomfort due to low blood pressure, and 15 people who complained of eardrum pain.”