Co-Pilot Sucked Out Plane Window After Airbus Windshield Shatters at 32000 Feet

The flight passenger had accidentally opened the emergency exit door. Getty Images

The flight passenger had accidentally opened the emergency exit door. Getty Images

A pilot on a domestic flight in China was "sucked halfway" out of the cockpit after part of the windscreen blew out, Chinese media reported.

The flight, Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, left the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing at 6.25am on Monday morning and was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

An emergency landing had to be made in southwest China earlier this week after a broken cockpit window almost resulted in a copilot being sucked out of an airplane.

The incident occurred when the plane had just reached its cruising altitude of 32,000 feet, about 30 minutes after it had taken off.

"The windshield burst suddenly and a loud noise was heard, and when I looked to the side, I saw that the co-pilot was already halfway out of the window", pilot Liu Chuanjian said. The co-pilot suffered facial scratches and a sprained wrist, and a cabin crew member suffered a minor waist injury. "The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges", said Captain Chaunjian of the accident.

Monday's incident didn't result in the worst-case scenario, but it may still shake some passengers' confidence in an industry that has statistically speaking never been safer. Most of the equipment malfunctioned. The flight attendants were in the process of serving dinner at the time the window smashed and the jarring of the airplane caused food to go everywhere. The cabin crew calmed the passengers and helped them put on oxygen masks.

"It is a huge challenge facing decompression and low temperatures", said the Air China pilot. Back on April 17, a Southwest flight over the US experienced a passenger cabin window getting blown out and a passenger was partially sucked out of the aircraft through that hole. "We just tried our best to reassure the passengers and make everyone believe us that we could touch down safely", Zhou Yanwen, the injured flight attendant, was quoted as saying by China News Service.

Millions of people in China commented on the pilot's actions on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo, according to Agence France-Presse, with the most popular post titled "My Hero Captain".

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is investigating the "rare' incident".

Twenty-seven of the 119 passengers on board the Airbus A319 were injured, Sichuan Airlines said in a statement.