Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 Loses Windscreen; Crew Injuries Reported

Chinese plane windshield pops out mid-flight

THE co-pilot of a plane carrying 128 people was "sucked halfway" out of the cockpit windshield before the captain made an emergency landing, aviation authorities have said.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said that part of the cockpit window broke as the plane was flying over Chengdu and the cause of the incident was under investigation.

A female flight attendant suffered minor injuries in the descent.

The cockpit experienced a sudden loss of pressure and drop in temperature and when he looked over, the cockpit's right windshield had shattered. "The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window", Captain Liu Chuanjian was quoted as saying by the Chengdu Economic Daily.

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

Prior to the emergency landing, Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

"The windshield cracked suddenly and gave a huge bang", he told the Red Star News. With the captain pressed against the window frame for 20 minutes, the co-pilot made a safe landing. Pictures show the right side of the window completely gone and some damage to the inside.

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Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air.

The pilot added that the cabin equipment malfunctioned as a result and it was so noisy he could not hear the wireless.

In 1990, one of the pilots on British Airways Flight 5390 was blown partially out of the cabin window after its windshield blew out at 23,000 feet.

After landing, most passengers were transferred to another flight to Lhasa, but 29 passengers were sent to the hospital, one with a sprain and another with bruising, China Central TV reported. "The oxygen masks on the plane all dropped out", he said. The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges'.

The cabin crew had been handing out breakfast to passengers when the plane pitched forward.

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.

An investigation into how the incident occurred has now been launched.

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