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Co-pilot 'sucked halfway out' plane when windshield blows out at 32000 feet

Co-pilot 'sucked halfway out' plane when windshield blows out at 32000 feet

The Sichuan Airlines plane was flying from Chongqing to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on Monday when the incident occurred.

The windshield shattered over the southwest city of Chengdu about an hour and twenty minutes after flight 3U8633 took off at 6.27 am local time (1027 GMT), the CAA said in statement released by CCTV. On 7 May, a JetBlue Airlines flight had to perform an emergency landing after the aircraft's windscreen shattered mid-flight, while a Lufthansa flight made an emergency call before landing in Dublin on 23 April after its cockpit windshield cracked.

Sichuan Airlines, a regional airline headquartered in Chengdu, operates mostly domestic flights but also flies internationally to countries such as Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic.

The co-pilot and a flight attendant sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident.

After the captain heard a deafening sound, he looked over and noticed the right windshield was missing.

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.

'The exploded window caused the cockpit to decompress immediately, everything in the cockpit was floating in the air.

"I couldn't hear the radio. The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges", Liu said. There was an immediate loss in cockpit pressure and temperature drop. The remaining passengers were transfered to another flight.

He went on to describe the terrifying chaos that followed. Passengers were being served their breakfast when the plane plunged suddenly to 24,000ft from above 30,000 feet.

Later, the captain spoke to the Chengdu Economic Daily about the ordeal. Airbus, which makes the single-aisle jet that can seat as many as 124 people in a typical two-class configuration, said it's supporting the probe led by CAAC and the French investigation agency BEA.

A video published online by the People's Daily shows oxygen masks deployed, and flight attendants walking up and down the aisle to give passengers instructions on how to disembark. "When we finally landed, some of the women were in tears", he said. "Just a huge noise", Liu said, according to the China News Service. They likely would not have been able to stand up or communicate properly in the cockpit.

Still, the incident caused unrest among many onboard at the time.

Chinese social media users praised Liu as an "epic hero" for his actions.

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