China plane makes emergency landing after window breaks

Plane Lands Otherwise Unharmed After Co-Pilot Is Partially Sucked Out Of Window

The plane eventually made an emergency landing in Chengdu and there were no fatalities, the regulator said without elaborating on the number of passengers on board.

"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".

Sichuan Airlines stated on their Weibo account that the flight had experienced a "mechanical failure" and that passengers were later put on another flight to Lhasa.

The incident happened when the plane was flying from Chongqing to Lhasa during the early hours of Monday. The aircraft, which had been traveling at 800 to 900 k/hr, went into a nosedive that lasted five to six seconds, according to the newspaper. People were screaming, while bags and trays were flying everywhere, he said. "When we finally landed, some of the women were in tears", he said.

The pilot who was sitting in the right-hand seat suffered scratches and a wrist sprain, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) Southwest Regional Administration. After landing, several passengers were transported to nearby hospitals.

One veteran pilot who did not wish to be named said the crew had handled the incident masterfully.

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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 windshield separation caused rapid cabin decompression damaging cockpit avionics and injuring one of the pilot possibly the first officer. There appears to be significant damage to a number of the controls in the cockpit.

Liu Chuanjian, hailed a hero on social media after having to land the Airbus A319 manually, told the Chengdu Economic Daily his aircraft had just reached a cruising altitude of 9,750 metres when a deafening sound tore through the cockpit.

Footage was published showing the broken window and equipment in the cockpit, as well as oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling of the cabin.

Reports suggest that the windshield was part of the original aircraft and had no previously recorded faults. It consists of multiple layers and is very hard to break.

The cause of the incident was still under investigation, he added.

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