Passengers on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Korean Air reportedly experienced nosebleeds and ear pain after a malfunction with the plane’s cabin pressurization system.

Korean Air Flight KE189, bound for Taichung, Taiwan, returned to Incheon, South Korea.

Yonhap News Agency reports:

The plane, which departed from Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, at 4:45 p.m. with 125 passengers on board, detected a problem with its pressurization system in the skies over South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju 50 minutes into its flight.

This system is responsible for regulating the internal pressure of an aircraft.

The plane returned to its departing airport at 7:38 p.m.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, 15 passengers suffered from eardrum pain and hyperventilation during the descent. Among them, 13 were taken to a hospital. No serious injuries have been reported.

“KE189 bound for Taichung (RMQ), Taiwan on the 22nd June, owing to pressurization issues at FL300. Korean Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft (HL8352), which departed from Incheon and was heading to Taiwan, returned back to Seoul (ICN)/ Runway 16R after remaining on a holding pattern for around 30 minutes,” FL360aero wrote.

“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. An official from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport explained, ‘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,'” it added.

From the New York Post:

As a result of the malfunction, the Boeing 737 Max 8 was forced to rapidly descend from an altitude of over 30,000 feet to about 9,000 feet, Dimsum Daily Hong Kong reported.

The dramatic drop caused extreme discomfort and even health issues for some of the 125 passengers on board.

At least two passengers experienced nosebleeds as a result of the sudden shift, and an additional 15 passengers complained of ear pain and hyperventilation.

One passenger reported the sudden drops in altitude the G-force of an extreme rollercoaster.

Some 13 passengers required medical attention, according to South Korean authorities.

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