Officials: Air China co-pilot’s vaping blunder caused plane to plummet nearly 20k feet

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BEIJING (CNN/WRIC) — Hundreds of passengers aboard Air China flight CA106 got a bit of scare on their flight Tuesday after a co-pilot smoking an electronic cigarette mistakenly turned off the plane’s air conditioning system, causing the plane to drop 6,000 meters (19,600) suddenly. 

An official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) informed reporters that the co-pilot, unidentified by authorities, was attempting to turn off air recycling fans to prevent the vapor from spreading into the passenger cabin, according to CNN. 

Instead of hitting his target, the co-pilot toggled the wrong switch, which led to the big drop and to the passenger’s oxygen masks to drop. 

The plane from Hong Kong was carrying 153 passengers and nine crew members, all who landed safely in the Chinese city of Dalian. 

CNN’s Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.

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