Saturday 19 January, 2019

Pilot 'sucked halfway' out as plane windscreen breaks

(Image: The incident took place on a Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 like this)

(Image: The incident took place on a Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 like this)

A pilot on a domestic flight in China was “sucked halfway” out of the cockpit after part of the windscreen blew out, Chinese media reported.

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

Pilot Liu Chuanjian told Chinese media that the aircraft, an Airbus A319, had just reached cruising altitude of 32,000ft when there was a bang in the cockpit and he realised that the right-hand side of the windscreen was gone.

“Suddenly, the windshield just cracked and made a loud bang. The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window,” he was quoted as saying.

The co-pilot was wearing a seatbelt, and he was pulled back in as the pilot worked to control the aircraft.

"Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air. Most of the equipment malfunctioned ... and I couldn't hear the radio. The flight was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges," Chinese media quoted him as saying.

The plane made an emergency landing in the city of Chengdu. The pilot who was sucked out of the plane was treated for skin abrasions and a sprained wrist, Chinese media said, but none of the 119 passengers on board were hurt.

French aviation investigators are sending staff to China to find out what happened, reports said.

Cockpit windscreens do crack sometimes after things like bird strikes, but it’s rare for a whole section to break.  

However, in 1990 the same thing did happen to a British Airways plane flying from Birmingham to Malaga. The captain was sucked mostly out of the plane after a windscreen blow-out. Cabin crew held on to his legs while the other pilot made an emergency landing. The captain was badly injured but made a full recovery.

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