An emergency landing was made when the co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight was sucked out of the broken windshield. Captain Liu Chuanjian was flying the Airbus A319 which he had to land manually. The captain told that the plane was at an altitude of 32,000 ft when a deafening sound tore the cockpit windshield into pieces. The pressure and temperature dropped all of a sudden since the right windshield was gone.
The captain told, “There was no warning sign. 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. Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air. Most of the equipment malfunctioned … and I couldn’t hear the radio. The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges.”
The co-pilot who was wearing a seatbelt sustained some scratches and a sprained wrist. The Civil Aviation Administration of China told that another cabin crew member was also injured in the incident. However, none of the plane’s passengers were hurt. The flight Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, took off from the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing on Monday and was supposed to land in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The emergency landing was then made in the south-west city of Chengdu. A passenger said, “The crew was serving us breakfast when the aircraft began to shake. We didn’t know what was going on and we panicked. Then the oxygen masks dropped … We experienced a few seconds of free fall before it stabilized again. I’m still nervous. I don’t dare to take an airplane anymore. But I’m also happy I had a narrow escape.”
The windshield was shattered after half an hour of the plane taking off. A report stated that since entering the service, the plane has taken 19,912 flights. Windshields have been broken several times before due to accidents with birds or lightening, however, this was the first time a windshield came off completely without being hit by anything.