13 hospitalized after Korean Air flight’s sudden loss of cabin pressurization

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13 passengers were taken to a hospital after a Korean Air flight rapidly descended 26,900 feet mid-flight due to a fault in the aircraft’s pressurization system.

Flight KE189 departed Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) on June 22, 2024, at about 16:45 local time, headed for Taichung International Airport (RMQ) in Taiwan.

50 minutes into the flight, the B737 MAX experienced a sudden uncontrolled decompression. According to FL360aero, the message “pressure s ystem (pressure control function of the aircraft) abnormality” was displayed while flying over Jeju Island.

As per standard procedure during a sudden loss of cabin pressurization, the flight crew made an emergency descent. According to data from the flight tracking website Flightradar24, the aircraft dropped about 26,900 feet in around 15 minutes. The aircraft, carrying 125 passengers, was able to return to ICN Airport at approximately 19:40 local time. 

One of the passengers onboard the flight captured footage inside the cabin, showing that the oxygen masks had all dropped from overhead.


Korean Airlines KE-189 flying from Seoul to Taiwan… 13 passengers were sent to the hospital due to the incident… Passenger thought that it will be her last day on Earth…

♬ original sound – Gary – Gary

The passenger said she thought it would be her “last day on earth”.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation said 15 passengers reported that they had suffered from hyperventilation or pain in their eardrums, while 13 were hospitalized after landing.

The flight was rescheduled for the following day, June 23, 2024.

A spokesperson for Korean Air told the media that the airline is currently investigating the cause of the diversion and plans to put the aircraft under maintenance after a thorough safety inspection.

June 24, 2024, 19:11 (UTC +3)

The article has been updated to clarify that the descent in altitude was conducted in a controlled manner, following standard procedures in response to a sudden loss of cabin pressurization.

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