Horrified: The plane is seen missing a cockpit windshield after it landed in China
A pilot was nearly sucked out of a plane with 119 passengers aboard when one of the cockpit windows fell out mid-flight, Daily Star UK reports.
The Sichuan Airlines flight from Chongquin to Lhasa had to be grounded immediately when the windshield suddenly broke open yesterday morning.
All passengers were unhurt, but the cockpit's temperature dropped to -40C and a co-pilot was partially sucked out of the plane.
The captain told Chinese media his co-pilot sustained injuries after the top half of his body dangled in mid-air.
Liu Chuanjian, who claimed to have flown the route more than 100 times, told Chengdu Business Daily that his co-pilot was luckily saved by a safety belt.
“He had half of his body sucked out the broken windshield at that time due to the sudden change of pressure," he said.
“The cockpit temperature dropped to minus 40 degree Celsius and most of the controls went faulty.”
The plane was diverted to nearby Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu.
Scary: The co-pilot was 'sucked out of the windshield and had half his body hanging outside'
Within in 20 minutes at around 7.46am, the captain safely landed the plane at the airport.
Mobile phone footage emerged online shows flight attendants asking passengers to wear oxygen masks and putting on safety belts.
Zeng Jun, one of the passengers, told Chengdu Business Daily: “The plane suddenly descended after flying about an hour in the air. It lasted for about five, six seconds.
“There were people screaming, bags dropping from the overhead cabin and lunch boxes scattering along the corridor.”
According to Sichuan Airlines, the co-pilot sustained scratches on the face and minor injuries on the waist, one female passenger had minor injuries on the waist.
Both were taken to hospital, along with 27 flight passengers who claimed to be unwell after the incident.
The remaining passengers were told to take another flight at 11.50am to fly to Lhasa Gonggar Airport.
An initial statement from Sichuan Airlines stated that the incident had been caused by a failure of the flight control unit.
CAAC of Southwest Regional Administration and Sichuan Airlines will investigate further.
The co-pilot is now out of hospital.