Korean Air Boeing 737 Max 8 Forces U-Turn Amid Sudden Depressurization Scare

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In a nerve-racking flight that awakened old fears, a Korean Air flight headed to Taiwan was abruptly ordered to return to its port of origin, Incheon airport situated west of Seoul, when the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet experienced sudden depressurization, announced the transport ministry on Tuesday.

In a series of unfortunate events transpiring within the claustrophobic confines of the mid-air flight, a total of 19 passengers from the 133 on board reported to hospitals complaining of ear pain and nosebleeds post flight. Thankfully, the medical prognosis revealed that none of the symptoms burgeoned into serious injuries.

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The cause of this startling vacuum disturbance on board the aircraft is currently under thorough investigation. In the meantime, the affected Boeing 737 Max 8 has been grounded. An air of caution prevails as the transport ministry has ordered all 11 airlines operating in South Korea to carry out an elaborate examination of the in-flight pressurization systems across their sizable combined fleet of 400 aircraft.

According to the reports received, the depressurization occurrence took place roughly 50 minutes into the flight’s journey, throwing the aircraft and its occupants into a stir of panic and confusion.

In a separate but eerily similar case, Malaysia Airlines reported that one of its Airbus A-330 jetliners experienced a “pressurization issue”, prompting an early u-turn back to Kuala Lumpur, while en route to Bangkok on Monday. Unhesitating in such dire circumstances, the well-practiced pilots launched into an emergency descent before the aircraft could even breach an altitude of 8,000 feet, despite the non-deployment of oxygen masks. The turn-coat Flight MH780 was ferrying 164 passengers along with 12 crew members at the time of the incident and is now under investigation.

The troublesome nature of the 737 Max’s history hangs ominously over these instances. With a haunting past marked by fatal crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019, which took the lives of 346 people collectively, the Boeing 737 Max jets have suffered ignominy in the form of worldwide grounding by the FAA and numerous other international aviation regulation authorities for more than a year and a half.

The faith in the company’s most sought-after commercial aircraft witnessed another blow when an alarming incident took place in January, involving the blowout of a panel from the 737 Max amidst an ongoing Alaska Airlines flight. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported.