China Revokes Licenses of Smoking Pilots Who Caused In-Flight Emergency

Jul 18, 2018

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Aviation officials in China have revoked the licenses of the pilots of an Air China 737 that had an emergency mid-flight due to the cockpit crew’s e-cigarette smoke.

The 737 made a rapid emergency descent, which caused a depressurization in the cabin and made the overhead oxygen masks fall, after one of the pilots accidentally turned off the aircraft air conditioner systems in an effort to contain the smoke from his e-cigarette. The aircraft is reported to have suddenly plunged 25,000 feet. Fortunately, none of the flight’s 153 passengers or nine crew where injured.

The lack of air conditioning triggered an alarm system that monitors oxygen on board and alerts the pilots to descend because they might have flown too high too quickly. Smoking on board commercial aircraft is illegal in China. Air China fired both of the pilots responsible.

In addition to revoking the pilots’ licenses, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has slashed Air China’s 737 flights by 10%, levied a fine of 50,000 yuan (about $7,376 USD) and has mandated the national flag carrier perform a three-month overhaul of its safety procedures.

The incident occurred on July 10 aboard flight CA106 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Dalian, China (DLC).

H/T: Today Online

Featured image by C. v. Grinsven/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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