3 flights grounded in 1 day over safety issues

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3 flights grounded in 1 day over safety issues

On Wednesday, three flights run by Korean airlines failed to reach their destinations on time due to various malfunctions, raising concerns once again about safety issues on planes.

One flight was delayed for over six hours, and two were forced to return to their departure points after problems were found. Two of the cases occurred on the same plane owned by Jin Air, a low-cost carrier under Korean Air, and one on an Asiana Airlines plane.

The first incident occurred early Wednesday at around midnight, when 392 passengers at Bangkok International Airport were forced to evacuate a Jin Air plane after smoke filled the cabin. The plane was waiting for takeoff, and passengers were safely guided outside. Some complained of breathing difficulties, but none required medical treatment.

Jin Air said the smoke came from lubricant leaking out of the auxiliary power unit, a device that powers electricity on the plane before the engines are turned on for flight. The lubricant, originally liquid, had gasified due to heat from neighboring devices. The unit was replaced, and the plane was able to take off six hours later.

Later that evening, the same plane was put on a flight from Incheon to Clark International Airport in the Philippines, but it was forced to turn back when the fire alarm in the cargo compartment went off not long after takeoff. The plane was carrying 325 passengers.

After inspection, Jin Air confirmed the cause was not an actual fire but a malfunction in the alarm system.

Around the same time, a 250-passenger Asiana Airlines flight scheduled to depart from Incheon to Bangkok was grounded after an odd sound was heard coming from the engines. The plane was flown back to Incheon 30 minutes after takeoff.

“We detected a malfunction in one of the engines,” an Asiana spokesman said. As a result, the flight was delayed for about four hours.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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