China: Windshield of aircraft shatters, co-pilot gets 'sucked halfway' out of window

Howard TerryMay 16, 2018

Liu Chuanjian, who claimed to have flown the route more than 100 times, told Chengdu Business Daily that his co-pilot was luckily saved by a safety belt.

'The exploded window caused the cockpit to decompress immediately, 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.

Sichuan Airlines, a regional company based in Chengdu, offers flights to domestic regions in China and various other global locations, including Japan, Canada and the Czech Republic.

The flight, Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, left the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing on Monday morning and was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, the authority said.

A common cause of windshields shattering is severe hailstorms. 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. Passengers were being served their breakfast when the plane plunged suddenly to 24,000ft from above 30,000 feet.

Passenger Zeng Jun described the scene in an interview with Chengdu Economic Daily as "too scary and too dangerous". "When we finally landed, some of the women were in tears", he said.

Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 was forced to perform an extreme emergency landing in China after one of the cockpit's windshields shattered, almost sucking the co-pilot out of the plane at 32,000 feet. Chinese social media users praised the pilots for landing the flight safely without incurring any passenger injuries. "The crew responded calmly and properly handled it in an emergency".

With two high-profile instances of cracked windows on planes in a month, how does this happen, how frequently do windshields shatter, and what is the protocol for pilots in these emergency incidents?

Mrs Riordan, a banking executive, was pulled back into the aircraft by other passengers, who attempted to resuscitate her, but she later died of her injuries.

No details have yet been released as to why the windshield broke.

Liu also told media that the extreme change in cabin pressure was "very uncomfortable" and that it felt like "driving at 200 kilometers per hour at the temperature of -5 C", Global Times reports.

In the cabin, passengers donned oxygen masks as the plane lurched to the side and meal trays fell to the floor.

CAAC also said that the windshield was part of the original aircraft and had no previously recorded faults.

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