A plane carrying 128 people made an emergency landing in southwest China on Monday after a cockpit window broke at 32,000 feet, sucking the co-pilot partly out of the aircraft, authorities and the pilot said. All passengers are safe, although the co-pilot sustained injuries on the face and waist, and another crew member was slightly hurt during the emergency landing, according to the CAAC.
The windshield separation caused rapid cabin decompression damaging cockpit avionics and injuring one of the pilot possibly the first officer.
Pilot Liu Chuanjian told the Red Star News, a local news portal, that the windshield had given way without warning around 150km from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.
A pilot who survived the accident and hailed hero on social media Captain Liu Chuanjian said that the flight was at an altitude of 32,000 feet when there was a deafening sound that tore the cockpit.
A separate report said the aircraft had accumulated 19,912 flight hours since entering service at Sichuan Airlines in July 2011. On May 3, another Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing after a cabin window pane cracked in flight.
Despite these difficulties and the intense cold, the pilot managed to slow the aircraft from its original speed of about 800-900 kph and land in about 20 minutes.More news: Mother of 10 kids says they weren't abused
"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".
Pictures published by government-run Chengdu Economic Daily showed the plane missing one of its cockpit windows and damage to its cockpit controls.
Mr Liu had to land the Airbus A319 immediately, a task made more hard because the instruments malfunctioned and it was too loud to use the radio.
After landing, most passengers were transferred to another flight to Lhasa, but 29 passengers were sent to the hospital, one with a sprain and another with bruising, China Central TV reported. He said anything that was not screwed down was "floating in the air". He explained that the plane was shaking and that he could not hear well.
According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, the aircraft was an Airbus A319.
"The oxygen masks on the plane all dropped out". An investigation into how the incident occurred is underway.