It's happened again. Just weeks after a woman died after being partially sucked out of the window of a Southwest Airlines jet, the co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight was yesterday sucked halfway out of the cockpit window after it suddenly shattered at 32,000 feet.
Thankfully, the plane's captain managed to both drag him back in and manually land the Airbus A319, a feat for which he is now being widely praised on Chinese social media, The Sun reports.
Captain Liu Chuanjian told Chinese Media that on reaching its cruising altitude, a loud bang ripped through the cabin, swiftly followed by a drop in air pressure and temperature. He then realised the right windshield was completely gone.
"There was no warning sign," Liu Chuanjian told the Chengdu Economic Daily, according to The Sun. "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."
No passengers or main-cabin crew were hurt. Amazingly, the co-pilot (who was strapped in with a seatbelt) got away with just a sprained wrist, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Investigators from BEA, a French accident investigation agency, and Airbus are sending staff to China to analyse the incident.
The flight, coded 3U8633, departed from Chongqing on Monday and was bound for Lhasa in Tibet. Its emergency landing saw it touch down in Chengdu instead.