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August 29, 2013

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China Eastern flight heads back to Melbourne after boy injures finger

A FLIGHT from Australia to Shanghai turned back early into its flight yesterday after a toddler from the city was seriously injured.

The two-year-old boy had got his finger stuck under the TV screen on the back of a seat in front of him about an hour after China Eastern Airlines’ flight MU738 had taken off from Melbourne at around 10am.

His mother failed to notice and when she lifted the boy up his finger was almost torn apart and he screamed in agony, Jason Lu, an official at China Eastern’s Australia office said.

“The bone did not fracture but the skin was pulled apart and the bone could be seen,” Lu said.

The captain decided to return to Melbourne because the Airbus 330-300E aircraft was still in Australian airspace and it would have been another 10 hours before it arrived at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, he said.

A passenger, Xu Yangdong, said: “The 300-plus passengers were all calm and supportive of the decision.”

The plane landed at 11:50am and the boy and his mother were escorted off the plane by members of the crew to a waiting ambulance. The boy was in stable condition after his finger was sewn up and bandaged at a nearby hospital, Lu said.

Lu said the decision to turn the plane around had cost the airline some 3 million yuan (US$490,200).

The plane had to release some 60 tons of fuel before landing in Melbourne to avoid damage to the undercarriage as the fully fuelled aircraft would have been too heavy to land.

China Eastern headquarters in Shanghai issued a statement late yesterday to thank all the passengers onboard for their support and understanding.

The plane left Melbourne again for Shanghai at around 2pm without the mother and son.

The boy is under observation at a hospital in Melbourne.



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