A vaping co-pilot forced a passenger plane to plummet 10,000 feet after he triggered a drop in cabin oxygen levels, according to state media.
The Air China Boeing 737 was flying to the Chinese city of Dalian from Hong Kong when oxygen masks were suddenly deployed and it was forced into an emergency descent. China’s aviation regulator said the pilot was smoking an e-cigarette during the flight.
It eventually climbed again and continued to its destination, but not before fueling the concerns of safety experts.
Chinese airlines have a good safety record in general, but passengers have, on occasion, accused pilots of smoking during flights. Few such incidents have ever been confirmed.
"In the preliminary investigation, the co-pilot was found to be smoking an e-cigarette," state-owned China News said, citing a news conference by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) investigating Tuesday's incident.
"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 quoted Qiao Yibin, an official of the regulator's aviation safety office, as saying....