An Air France-KLM Boeing 777 made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from Beijing on Saturday, the airline confirmed. The crew decided to make an emergency landing when the cabin filled with smoke following a technical failure. Witnesses mentioned a loud bang.
Fourteen minutes after departure for Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the plane returned to Beijing. No one was injured in the emergency landing.
One of the travelers told news outlet Beijing Daily that an abnormal noise was heard during takeoff, a “whistling sound similar to wind blowing through the window.”
Then suddenly there was a loud bang, as if something had exploded. And white flakes flew through the air. This was accompanied by a strong burning smell. Some people ran screaming to the front of the plane, and a flight attendant took what looked like a fire extinguisher to fight the incident.”
In a statement, Air France did not go into detail about what happened. The KLM sister only reports that it was a ‘technical incident’.
“The passengers have been met at the airport in Beijing by Air France employees and will be taken to Paris as soon as possible,” it said.
Air France has since been able to determine the cause. “A malfunction of a pneumatic system on the plane caused an overpressure in one of the air conditioning pipes, causing residue and dust to spread in the cabin,” reports the French airline.