Air China pilots fired for mistake that plunged flight 25000 feet

Vaping co-pilot caused Air China plane to plummet officials say	 	 	 			Vape stock

Vaping co-pilot caused Air China plane to plummet officials say Vape stock

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.

Authorities have determined that an Air China flight's sudden, terrifying 21,000-foot descent was caused by a co-pilot smoking an electronic cigarette mid-flight, which triggered a series of events that led to the deployment of oxygen masks and, in turn, backlash against the pilot.

In desperation, the pilot reportedly hit the wrong switches, which dropped oxygen levels in the plane, triggering altitude warnings.

Air China said it would terminate the contracts of the employees involved in the emergency descent incident, and suggested that the CAAC cancel their licences, it said on its official account on China's Weibo.

Flight CA106 took off from Hong Kong Tuesday evening at 7:10 pm local time bound for the city of Dalian in northeastern China.

The regulator's safety officer Qiao Yibin said the crew had to perform emergency measures, dropping oxygen masks until they could figure out the problem.


"In the preliminary investigation, the co-pilot was found to be smoking an e-cigarette", China News reported of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's findings, citing a news conference. A loss of cabin pressurization had incapacitated the crew, leaving the Boeing 737 flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel.

Instead of turning off a fan to prevent the vapors from reaching the passenger cabin, he turned off the passengers' air conditioning.

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

The incident featured heavily on Chinese social media on Friday, with some commentators demanding harsh punishment and revocation of the pilot's flight licence.

"I'm not physically hurt, but the psychological impact lingers". Last year, the airline and its subsidiaries carried 102 million passengers across six continents, according to company statistics.

Its last and only fatal accident was in 2002 when a Boeing 767 jetliner crashed into a hill in bad weather near Busan, South Korea, killing 129 of the 166 people on board.

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