The co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight on Monday was "sucked halfway" out of the cockpit window after the window blew out, Reuters reported, citing local reports. Chinese social media users praised the pilots for landing the flight safely without incurring any passenger injuries.
Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 from Chongqing in southwest China to Lhasa in Tibet had just reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet when the cockpit experienced a sudden loss of pressure. The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window'.
Captain Liu Chuanjian, who said he had flown the route more than 100 times, told Chengdu Business Daily that his co-pilot was saved by a safety belt.
Speaking on the incident, the Sichuan Airlines issued a statement on its official Weibo account and claimed that the issue was a "mechanical failure" and that the passengers were soon taken to their destination in a different flight, the news agency reported.
The incident happened close to the Chengdu Airport, where the flight carried out a emergency landing after around 45 minutes from the incident.
Pictures published by government-run Chengdu Economic Daily showed the plane missing one of its cockpit windows and damage to its cockpit controls.
"I couldn't hear the radio", he said.
Pictures shared online show the co-pilot's side of the windshield gone and it emerged that he was nearly sucked out of the window by the sudden loss of pressure.
None of the plane's 119 passengers were injured.
Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air. On May 3, another Southwest Airlines flight was forced to conduct an emergency landing after a cabin window pane cracked in mid-flight.
Twenty-seven passengers received medical checkups in a hospital in Chengdu, but no injuries were detected. Liu said that the emergency landing was extremely hard because of the noise, flying debris, and inability to see much more than a few feet ahead of the aircraft.
Footage was published showing the broken window and equipment in the cockpit, as well as oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling of the cabin. This incident is very unusual and only further investigation will lead to a resolution, Zhang added.