Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Co-pilot smoking e-cigarette behind cabin pressure fall on Air China plane

Co-pilot smoking e-cigarette behind cabin pressure fall on Air China plane

China bars flight crews from "smoking on all phases of operation", and passengers there haven't been able to use e-cigarettes on planes since 2006. The official says the pilot tried to shut off air-recycling fans so the vapor wouldn't reach the cabin, but "toggled the wrong switches", causing air pressure to drop.

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

Instead, the wingman accidentally triggered a drop in oxygen levels, prompting an altitude warning that caused the almost fatal plunge - from 32,800 to 13,100 feet in less than nine minutes, Civil Aviation Administration of China officials told the station.

After the sudden descent to 10,000 feet (approx 3,000 metres), the plane thankfully recovered when it managed to climb back to 26,000 feet (approx 7,900 metres) and ended up arriving safely in Dalian.

Rapid loss of cabin pressurization can be deadly. A loss of cabin pressurization had incapacitated the crew, leaving the Boeing 737 flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel. That's the lingering anxiety of a passenger on a recent Air China flight that plummeted thousands of feet after oxygen levels dropped.

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Hoby Sun, the passenger who provided CNN with the flight altitude data, said everyone was calm when the oxygen masks dropped.

Chinese investigators announced their findings July 13, three days after the July 10 incident, which occurred aboard Flight CA106 from Hong Kong to Dalian 30 minutes after its 5:55 p.m. takeoff, BBC reports.

"I'm not physically hurt, but the psychological impact lingers". The fall was severe enough the automated flight systems deployed oxygen masks.

Air China, headquartered in Beijing and a member of the Star Alliance global network, has a fleet of more than 600 planes.

In 2002, a Boeing 767 operated by Air China crashed into a hill in South Korea during bad weather, killing 129 people.

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