Published: Tue, May 15, 2018

Pilot 'sucked halfway' out of cockpit after windshield shatters

Pilot 'sucked halfway' out of cockpit after windshield shatters

A Sichuan Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing on Monday after the cockpit's windshield broke off at 32,000 feet, causing a co-pilot to be sucked partially out of the plane.

A Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 passenger jet was diverted to Chengdu on Tuesday, after losing one of the cockpit windshield while flying at 33,200 ft (FL332) altitude and at speeds of around 450 knots.

It made its emergency landing in the southwest city of Chengdu. The co-pilot had his seat belt on, preventing him from being sucked out of the plane. None of the 119 passengers on the flight to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, were injured.

Pictures shared online show the co-pilot's side of the windshield gone and it emerged that he was nearly sucked out of the window by the sudden loss of pressure.

Incidents involving cracked windshields do happen on a regular basis due to occurrences such as bird or lightning strikes but ones involving entire windshields coming off are rare.

Local media quoted the pilot as saying the window suddenly broke when it was flying at an altitude of about 10,000 meters almost 30 minutes after takeoff.

But "everything in the cockpit was floating in the air". "It was so noisy I couldn't hear the radio. The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges", says Liu.

"We didn't know what was going on and we panicked", one told the state-run China News Service. Footage recorded by the passengers also showed baggage falling from overhead lockers and oxygen masks popping out. "We experienced a few seconds of free fall before it stabilized again".

According to Reuters, the Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) Southwest Regional Administration confirmed the injuries to both the co-pilot and flight attendant.

Sichuan Airlines reported on its Weibo account that an aircraft had suffered a "mechanical failure".

Pilots regained control of the plane and after circling in the air for some time managed to land the plane safely in Chengdu. The Wall Street Journal reports an Airbus team will help investigate the incident. No passengers were injured.

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