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China: Around The Nation

Indonesian passenger plane turns back to Guangzhou after finding cabin door ‘not completely closed’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 12:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 1:01pm

A passenger plane headed for an Indonesian island from southern China had to turn back mid-flight on Wednesday after air crew found its cabin door incompletely closed, according to Chinese media.

The Sriwijaya Air flight 1159 was on its way to Bali from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport around 3am on Wednesday, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

It had to turn back to Guangzhou about three hours into the flight, however, after the plane’s captain found a problem with its cabin doors an hour and a half after taking off, the report said.

The flight from Guangzhou to Bali usually takes around five hours.

Video footage shot and shared by passengers showed that some were infuriated over having to return to Guangzhou and expressed suspicions about “holes” found on the plane.

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But the airline denied the claims and said the plane’s front cabin door was not completely closed though the cockpit’s monitoring panel had indicated that it was, according to the report.

A Guangzhou representative of the airline also confirmed to Guangdong TV that the plane turned back over the cabin door issue.

“When the captain found the problem, he decided to return immediately,” an airline staff member was quoted as saying.

The plane, which was carrying more than 180 passengers, stopped at the Guangzhou airport for about half an hour for tests and repair, the report said.

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It finally took off again around 10.30am, with 21 fewer passengers, after they decided not to re-board the plane, the airline representative said. The flight landed in Bali at 2.30pm.

The representative added that the airline was negotiating compensation with the passengers affected.

The airline has not responded to the South China Morning Post’s request for comment over the incident.

Sriwijaya Air has one of the lowest safety ratings on AirlineRatings.com, with just two out of seven stars.