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A co-pilot was almost sucked halfway out of a Chinese flight at 32,000 feet

A Chinese passenger jet of Sichuan Airlines departed from the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing at 6.30am on Monday morning was forced to make an emergency landing at Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu half an hour after take-off after the co-pilot was ‘sucked halfway out’ of the cockpit.

It happened after the windscreen shattered in mid-air when the aircraft had just reached an altitude of 32,000 feet. „Suddenly the windscreen just cracked and made a loud bang. The next thing I know my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window,” Captain Liu Chuanjian remembered. “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,” he added. The temperature of the cockpit have dropped to minus 40 degree Celsius.  One other member of cabin crew was injured in the descent, but none of the 119 passengers were hurt.

a-Sichuan-Airlines-flight
A Sichuan Airlines flight

Cockpit windscreens (sometimes referred to as windshields) are typically comprised of several layers, designed to deal with air pressure of up to 500 knots and to avoid shattering when striking a bird. Usually total windscreen failures like the one in China this week are extremely rare. China's aviation regulators said Tuesday that the investigation into the peeling off of a plane's windshield, which caused a co-pilot to be "nearly sucked halfway" in mid-air, will focus on the design and manufacturing process of the window. Airbus already has sent a group of technicians to aid in the investigation.

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