Vaping Co-Pilot Causes Air China Flight to Plummet Thousands of Feet

Pauline Gross
July 14, 2018

An emergency descent by an Air China aircraft after cabin oxygen levels dropped has been linked to a co-pilot smoking an e-cigarette during the flight, state media said, citing China's aviation regulator.

The flight, later on, reached its cruising altitude of 10,000 meters (32,800 feet).

The CAAC official said the incident is being investigated and "severe punishment in accordance with laws and regulations" will be delivered if the investigation proves that the initial finding was the reason behind the incident.

In a video of Flight CA106 obtained by the Beijing News, a flight attendant is seen walking down the aisle to check on passengers, some of who are putting on oxygen masks in response to a pre-recorded announcement in Chinese and English asking them to do so.

The airhead aviator was soaring from Hong Kong to the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian in a Boeing 737 jet Tuesday when he tried to stop vapor from his e-cigarette from wafting into the passenger cabin, according to CNN.

The BBC explained that the loss of air conditioning caused the plane's other systems to react as if the cabin were losing pressure, which obliged the pilots to quickly bring the aircraft to a lower altitude to keep the passengers safe. Air China says it will "adopt a zero-tolerance attitude and seriously punish those found responsible", depending on the results of the CAAC's probe.

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The airline prohibits smoking, including e-cigarettes, on all its flights.

Within a matter of 18 minutes, the plane was down to just 12,300 feet.

The move takes bad airline service to new heights, terrified passengers said.

Aviation experts were not entirely satisfied with the results of the preliminary investigation, pointing out that it was unsafe for the pilots to proceed with the rest of the flight after the passengers used up all of the bottled oxygen, leaving no reserves to deal with an actual in-flight emergency.

Smoking is not allowed aboard Chinese commercial passenger flights.

Other reports by GizPress

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