Passengers on a Vietnam Airlines plane put on oxygen masks as technical problems lead to a sudden drop in cabin pressure on December 16, 2014. The flight's captain was found mistakenly sending warning signals of hijack during the emergency situation. Photo via a passenger's Facebook page
A Czech pilot with Vietnam Airlines has been fined VND3 million (US$138) for falsely sending warning signals of hijack during an emergency situation caused by technical problems last month.
Pechanec Marek, 44, sent the wrong signals two times, when a sudden drop in cabin pressure forced him and his co-pilots to descend their plane from 35,000 feet to 13,000 feet on December 16, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam’s inspectors.
The incident happened when the plane with 135 passengers and seven crew members on board was on its way from Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh Airport in the central province of Nghe An.
While the crew managed to make an emergency but safe landing at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, the wrong warning reportedly sent ground contingency forces scrambling to brace for a hijacking scenario.
After the landing, a majority of the passengers to another plane bound for Vinh later that same day.
Inspectors said they did not subject the foreign pilot to any other punishments, considering that he had voluntarily reported the incident and made the mistake in an “especially difficult situation.”