Sat, Jun 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Two flights suffer security scares

PASSENGER PANIC:In one incident, passengers were petrified when white smoke began pouring out of the air vents, and in the other, a man claimed he had a bomb

By Wang Hsiu-ting  /  Staff reporter

A Uni Air flight flying from Taipei International Airport (Songshan) to Taitung yesterday suffered a cracked windshield in the cockpit after taking off. Fortunately, it landed without incident at Taitung Fengnian Airport, albeit with a 20-minute delay and shaken passengers.

According to Uni Air, the DASH8-300 series plane, with aircraft number B7-855, carried 56 passengers, one of whom was an infant. The plane had reached cruising altitude at 4,877m when the captain noticed a small crack on the left front windshield of the cockpit. The captain immediately took the plane down to 1,829m and circled out over the Yilan coastline for about 20 minutes before resuming course toward Taitung.

A passenger surnamed Chung (鍾) recalled hearing some noises just as the flight attendants were beginning to serve beverages. Then the captain announced on the intercom that all flight attendants should take their seats, Chung said, adding that at the time of the broadcast he felt a severe pain in his ears.

The cabin’s air-conditioning was shut off and the captain announced that the plane had to drop lower due to some issues, Chung said.

Another passenger, surnamed Su (蘇), said she “was really scared” after hearing the noise and seeing the air-conditioner temporarily venting white smoke.

Chung recalled that after the plane came in view of the Taitung coastline the captain announced there was a problem with the cabin pressure gauge system, but added that everything was under control and shortly after the plane landed in Taitung Fengnian Airport.

Uni Air said it reported the incident to the Civil Aeronautics Administration and sent the plane in for repairs, adding that it would cooperate with a follow-up investigation.

Meanwhile, another incident of aeronautic security occurred in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday when a passenger told flight attendants after boarding a China Airlines CI-679 flight bound for Hong Kong that he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage.

The 38-year-old Chinese man, surnamed Wu (吳), and his wife were immediately escorted off the plane by aviation police after the flight attendant contacted the captain and the airline company.

After a thorough search of Wu’s person and his carry-on luggage, the aviation police confirmed it was a false alert. Nonetheless, China Airlines asked all 260 passengers to leave the plane while another security check took place.

Wu and his wife were detained for further questioning about his motivation for making the claim.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer

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