A co-pilot has a lucky escape as the windshield suddenly shatters during a flight in China.
A co-pilot was partially sucked out of the cockpit during a Sichuan Airlines flight heading from Chongqing to Tibet after the plane’s windshield shattered.
Flight 8633 left the southwestern Chinese city at 06:26 and was supposed to land in Lhasa, more than 2,000 kilometres to the west. Instead it made an emergency landing in Chengdu.
During the flight the windshield suddenly “shattered with a loud sound” the pilot, Liu Chuanjian, said in a video posted by Chengdu Business News. “When I looked over to my side, half of my co-pilot’s body was hanging out of the window.”
He added: “Fortunately, he was wearing a seatbelt.”
The airline later said in a post on Weibo that one crew member was being treated for a waist injury, the first officer suffered scratches, and 29 of the plane’s 119 passengers had been sent to a hospital for examination.
Social media users in China praised the pilots as heroes and encouraged the airline to reward them, The New York Times reports.
But others expressed scepticism at the airline’s portrayal of the incident. “The pilot is indeed awesome, but why is this the only thing broadcasted?” one user asked. “This is clearly Sichuan Airlines’ accident. Sichuan Airlines’ public relations team is quite clever at crisis management.”
The incident is the world’s second broken-window incident of the year aboard a commercial plane following the explosion of an engine on a Southwest flight that blew out a window in the cabin. In addition, another Southwest flight made an emergency landing two weeks ago when a window in the cabin cracked.