An emergency descent on Tuesday by an Air China aircraft after cabin oxygen levels dropped has been linked to a copilot smoking an e-cigarette during the flight, state media said yesterday, citing China’s aviation regulator.
The state-backed Air China Boeing 737 aircraft was flying from Hong Kong to the Chinese city of Dalian when it descended to 3,048m and oxygen masks deployed. It then climbed to continue to its destination, an incident that fueled 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.
However, few such incidents have been confirmed.
“In the preliminary investigation, the copilot was found to be smoking an e-cigarette,” state-owned China News said, citing a news conference by the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration investigating the 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 Aviation Safety Office official Qiao Yibin (喬以濱) as saying.
The copilot had shut off the air-conditioning units, China News said.
The shutoff triggered an alarm, prompting the crew to perform an emergency pressure relief procedure, which then released the cabin’s oxygen masks, Qiao was quoted as saying.
The crew realized the problem after the descent and restored the air-conditioning, allowing cabin pressure to return to normal, he added.
The agency said it was continuing the investigation and was analyzing the aircraft’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
Air China did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It vowed a “zero-tolerance” approach toward wrongdoing by any crew on its microblog on Wednesday.
The incident yesterday featured heavily on Chinese social media, with some commentators demanding harsh punishment and revocation of the pilot’s flight license.
China’s aviation regulations, which bar flight crew from “smoking on all phases of operation,” also banned passengers from using e-cigarettes on flights in 2006.
However, users of online airline forums have occasionally accused pilots of smoking during flights.
In 2015, government-run China National Radio said four passengers on an Air China flight from Hong Kong to Beijing smelled strong smoke emitted from the cabin.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”