A Chinese airliner experienced a rare inflight emergency Monday but is reported to have landed safely.
At 9:35 p.m., the flight crew of China Southern Flight 6406 from Nanjing in eastern China to the southern city of Guilin discovered a fire alarm light in the cargo hold, according to a post on the airline’s Weibo microblog. The crew immediately responded according to emergency procedures, directing the plane to land at the nearest airport in Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province. The plane landed safely at Changsha Huanghua International Airport at 9:56 p.m.
All 151 passengers were evacuated via emergency slide according to safety manual provisions. One passenger suffered a minor ankle injury, which has been examined. Flight operations and maintenance crew dispatched to conduct an initial inspection said that they found no fire, but further investigation is pending. China Southern reaccommodated the passengers onto another aircraft, which arrived in Guilin at 2:20 a.m. Tuesday.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration published a statement Tuesday saying it had determined that the fire scare had indeed been false alarm, and was caused by a malfunctioning warning system.
This article has been updated to include the aviation administration’s findings.
Additional reporting: Fan Liya; editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: A China Southern aircraft prepares to take off at Yichun Lindu Airport in Yichun, Helongjiang province, Aug. 25, 2010. Zhao Yun for Sixth Tone)