Passengers boarding a domestic flight in a Chinese airport had to be evacuated from a flight after one eagle-eyed traveller noticed that the aeroplane had a flat tyre.
The incident is said to have caused quite a scare for those already on the aircraft and those preparing to board the flight, as many believed the airline company, Beijing Capital Airlines, had not thoroughly done its routine safety checks.
Reports said the Capital Airlines flight parked on the tarmac at Kunming Changshui International Airport, in Kunming, capital of south-west China's Yunnan Province, was already boarding when the damaged tyre was spotted on Monday.
One passenger queueing to ascend the stairs to the aircraft noticed that the large tyre was completely deflated, and he immediately informed one of the flight attendants managing the passengers.
Flight JD5158 bound for Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, was then delayed and evacuated after the cabin crew member informed the captain.
Startled passengers were ushered back into the airport terminal, where they were reportedly asked to wait for three hours while the tyre was changed and another round of safety inspections was conducted.
A female flier uploaded an image of the flat tyre to Chinese social network Weibo, explaining the incident.
She said: "The passengers getting on later saw that a tyre was flat on the left hand side. It was completely empty so they asked the staff on the plane.
"Then the air hostess told us all to get off the plane, telling us they need to change the tyre.
"I don't know whether to be happy or sad. Airline company made us go through several security checks and then the plane is like this. Life is so fragile."
Reports did not mention whether the passengers were compensated for the ordeal, which is said to have left several flyers upset and startled, and complaining on their social media accounts.
Capital Airlines, which is a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines and is based in the Chinese capital, issued an apology on its Weibo account.
The statement read: "During pre-flight checks in Kunming, engineer staff found damage to the left interior wheel on the Capital Airlines flight B6869 / JD5158 from Kunming to Hangzhou.
"They immediately informed the relevant parties and changed the type.
"Passengers were required to exit the plane according to normal procedures to start security checks again.
"Thank you for the concern for Capital Airlines from the media and the public. We welcome future support for Capital Airlines.'
It is not the first time a passenger has noticed a potentially dangerous situation seconds before take-off.
Earlier this month an EasyJet flight from Geneva was aborted moments before take-off after a passenger spotted a spanner still attached to the wing.
The packed passenger jet had already taxied to the runway when the 25-year-old Swiss man saw the tool wedged between the flaps, which are raised or lowered to alter the lift of the aircraft.
He alerted cabin crew and the pilot immediately returned to the terminal so the adjustable monkey wrench could be removed.
And in January a passenger captured the shocking moment fuel began leaking out of a plane's engine as it taxied to the runway for take-off.
The Flybe plane was making its way to the runway at Aberdeen Airport, bound for Birmingham, when fuel began to drip onto the tarmac.
Eventually the Bombardier Dash 8 came to a stop and a puddle of fuel soon formed.
- Daily Mail