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Up in smoke: Vaping China co-pilot sparks mid-air emergency

AFP  |  Shanghai 

An Air jet made a rapid emergency descent after a co-pilot mistakenly turned off in a bid to conceal his smoke, Chinese media quoted the country's civil aviation authority as saying today.

The incident, which resulted in the deployment of passenger oxygen masks, occurred Tuesday on a flight by the Chinese from Hong Kong to the city of in

The (CAAC) said in a press conference in that the drama was triggered when the co-pilot sought to turn off a ventilation system to prevent his smoke spreading into the main cabin, the respected site Caixin said.

Smoking is not allowed aboard Chinese commercial passenger flights. But the co-pilot accidentally switched off air-conditioning instead, leading to a decrease in cabin oxygen levels.

That set off an emergency warning system indicating that the 737 jet may have flown too high and instructing the pilots to quickly descend.

Chinese quoted passengers and flight-tracker sites as saying the plane may have descended as much as several thousand metres. The CAAC said the aircraft dropped down to low as 3,000 metres (10,000 feet), without specifying its original altitude.

Video from aboard the flight that was later posted on showed oxygen masks hanging down from the ceiling throughout the cabin, but no signs of panic.

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

It added that it was continuing to investigate the incident.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 16:25 IST