SHANGHAI: An emergency descent by an Air China aircraft after cabin oxygen levels dropped has been linked to a co-pilot smoking an e-cigarette during the flight, state media said on Friday, citing China’s aviation regulator.
The state-backed Air China Boeing 737 aircraft was flying to the Chinese city of Dalian from Hong Kong on July 10 when it dropped to 10,000 feet (3,048 m), with oxygen masks deployed. Then it climbed again to continue to its destination. Chinese airlines have a good safety record in general, but passengers have, on occasion, accused pilots of smoking during flights. Few such incidents have been confirmed, however. “In the preliminary investigation, the co-pilot was found to be smoking an e-cigarette,” state-owned China News said, citing a news conference by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) investigating Tuesday’s incident.