Monday, 18 February, 2019

Plane dropped 10,000ft after co-pilot started 'vaping in cockpit'

Vaping co-pilot caused Air China plane to plummet officials say	 	 	 			Vape stock Vaping co-pilot caused Air China plane to plummet officials say Vape stock
Deanna Wagner | 14 July, 2018, 09:45

The co-pilot aboard a domestic Air China flight from Hong Kong to Dalian on Tuesday plummeted 25,000 feet in 10 minutes.

This blunder caused oxygen levels in the cabin to fall, and triggered the release of oxygen masks from the cabin ceiling, which passengers soon photographed and started sharing to social media.

He then mistakenly switched off the air-conditioning unit while attempting to turn on air-recycling fans - causing an alarm to sound when smoke leaked into the cabin and oxygen levels plunged.

The CAAC has said there were no injuries to the 153 passengers and nine crew.

The flight landed safely in Dalian at 10:29 pm.

But there have been accusations of pilots smoking on board other Chinese flights, including in 2015 when the state-run radio spoke to passengers on a Hong Kong-Beijing flight who claimed to smell strong smoke coming from the cockpit.

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'Smoke diffused into the passenger cabin and relevant air conditioning components were wrongly shut off, without notifying the captain, which resulted in insufficient oxygen, ' it added.

The crew returned to normal cruising altitude once it was discovered that the air conditioning was, in fact, turned off.

The incident, confirmed by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) at a press conference, is now being investigated.

The CAAC said it was continuing the investigation and was analysing the aircraft's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. The statement said: "If the investigation reveals that the crew has violated regulations, the company will seriously deal with the responsible person with zero tolerance".

"[We] didn't know what was going on, nor did the flight attendants, it seemed", said Hoby Sun, a passenger on flight CA106.

An Air China staff member has been accused of putting a flight in danger after taking a puff of his vape while flying the aircraft.