Pilot 'Sucked Halfway Out the Window' After Cockpit Windshield Breaks

Hannah Rogers
May 18, 2018

A Sichuan Airlines pilot has been hailed a hero for landing an airliner safely on Monday after a windshield broke mid-flight and his co-pilot was sucked halfway out of the cockpit. Captain Liu Chuanjian found himself in a turbulent struggle to maintain control of a plane full of 119 passengers. "Fortunately his seat belt was fastened", Liu said. No one was killed. When he looked up, he saw a crack in his co-pilots windshield was shattered and that the co-pilot himself was on the verge of being blasted out of the aircraft, only able to pull himself back in because he was wearing a seatbelt.

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. He suffered scratches and a sprained wrist.

About 40 minutes after takeoff, the right cockpit windshield on a Sichuan Airlines flight broke off, causing decompression at 32,000 feet and leading to an emergency landing in Chengdu, China. None of them appeared seriously hurt, the airline said, adding that it had arranged for special personnel to accompany the travelers.

Sichuan Airlines said on its official Weibo account that the flight had experienced a "mechanical failure" without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Airbus and the BEA accident investigation agency of France are sending teams to China to investigate the incident.

"We thank all passengers on this flight for their understanding and tolerance ..."

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The Sichuan Airlines plane, 3U8633, was scheduled to fly from Chongqing to Lhasa.

Pictures published by government-run Chengdu Economic Daily showed the plane missing one of its cockpit windows and damage to its cockpit controls. Soon after, the co-pilots of the aircraft came in partially out of the cockpit and the aircraft became frantic.

It was no easy task bringing the plane in for an emergency landing as it was "jolting strongly", making the aircraft hard to control. "Just a huge noise", Liu said, according to the China News Service.

Goglia says that cockpit windows in particular are very strong, created to survive everything from bird strikes-as in Sully Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson" flight-to hailstorms.

During a press conference, the captain thanked his flight crew for helping him deal with the emergency calmly and successfully. They said that I have been flying more than 100 times on this route, which I got the advantage.

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