It was not exactly the warm sunshine of Southern California but the blistering subarctic cold of eastern Russia that greeted the 188 passengers aboard Air China flight CA983.
A fire alarm had gone off in the cargo hold of the flight from Beijing to Los Angeles, forcing it to land in Anadyr, a remote Russian port town with below freezing temperatures of negative 10 degrees Celsius, early Tuesday.
Videos of the evacuation circulating on Weibo show a frantic scramble off the aircraft and passengers sliding down the plane’s emergency slides that were swaying violently in the wind.
Passengers were transferred to the town’s airport where they waited for another plane to fly them to Los Angeles.
An apology posted on Air China’s Weibo said the incident involving the Boeing 777 was triggered by a faulty fire alarm.
“Inspections after landing did show the cargo hold was in normal condition and that there were no signs of a fire,” the notice said.