Pilot 'sucked out' of plane after cockpit windshield blows mid-flight

Pilot 'sucked out' of plane after cockpit windshield blows mid-flight

"The windshield burst suddenly and a loud noise was heard, and when I looked to the side, I saw that the co-pilot was already halfway out of the window".

The plane was vibrating strongly and it was impossible to read the instruments, said Mr Liu, who was hailed as a hero on social media.

Sichuan Airlines Flight 3U8633 left the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing on Monday bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, which typically takes about three hours.

The cause of the break in the right windshield of the cockpit is yet to be ascertained as investigations are underway. It lasted for about five, six seconds.

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He described a harrowing scene.

The co-pilot, who was wearing a seatbelt, was fortunately pulled back in, only suffering scratches and a sprained wrist, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said, while another cabin crew member was also injured in the descent.

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Twenty-seven passengers received medical checkups in a hospital in Chengdu, but no injuries were detected.

The Captain requested an emergency landing and diverted to Chengdu in southern China where he landed the aircraft safely.

Liu later said the accident reminded him of a similar incident with British Airways in 1990, when a windshield separated from its frame, and the captain was sucked out of the plane.

The A319-100 aircraft, with registration B-6419, is less than seven years old and was made in Airbus' Chinese factory in Tianjin.

A passenger, Zhao Shihai, told the China Youth Daily that he realized what was going on when he was woken up by strong turbulence, which later subsided after the flight crew managed to close the cockpit door that had been pushed open. "The oxygen masks on the plane all dropped out", he said.

"He had half of his body sucked out the broken windshield at that time due to the sudden change of pressure".

Reports suggest that the windshield was part of the original aircraft and had no previously recorded faults. This incident is very unusual and only further investigation will lead to a resolution, Zhang added.

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