Pilot 'smoking e-cigarette' forces Air China flight to plunge

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

As reported in the Chinese business outlet Caixin, the Civil Aviation Administration said the co-pilot had tried to turn off a circulation fan so that the fumes from his vaping would not go into the cabin.

Qiao Yibin, the CAAC official, promised to hand down "severe punishment in accordance with laws and regulations", if the regulator's final conclusion on the incident matches its initial finding.

Oxygen masks were also deployed as part of an emergency procedure.

In reaction to an alarm triggered by the air conditioning shut off, the flight crew dropped the plane's emergency oxygen masks and initiated a descent to a lower altitude with breathable air.

Air China's website says smoking is strictly prohibited on all its flights.

Air China flight CA106, en route from Hong Kong to the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian, descended from above 10,000 meters to below 4,000 meters n less than nine minutes Tuesday shortly after it reached cruising altitude, according to phone Global Positioning System data shared with CNN by a passenger on board.

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Instead, the wingman accidentally triggered a drop in oxygen levels, prompting an altitude warning that caused the almost fatal plunge - from 32,800 to 13,100 feet in less than nine minutes, Civil Aviation Administration of China officials told the station. "The crew members who are responsible for the incident have been seriously dealt with", Air China said on Friday when announcing the dismissal of the crew.

It is clearly stated that e-cigarettes are also banned.

It added that it was continuing to investigate the incident.

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

According to the South China Morning Post, some aviation experts reckon the airline should not have continued with the flight after its emergency oxygen supply had been used up.

Smoking is not allowed aboard Chinese commercial passenger flights. Various sources are listing different numbers for how far the plane actually dropped, but flight data cited by Newsweek shows an approximately 21,000-foot decrease over 18 minutes.

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