Pilots take Airbus to safety without cockpit window at 32,000ft

Updated: 16 May 2018
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A plane carrying 128 people made an emergency landing in southwest China on Monday after a cockpit window broke at 32,000 feet, sucking the co-pilot partly out of the aircraft, authorities and the pilots said. The aircraft was an Airbus A319.
 One of the cockpit windows broke.

The flight, Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, had left the central Chinese city of Chongqing for the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. There were 128 people, nine of whom were crew, on board.

None of the 119 passengers on board were hurt in the incident. However, a co-pilot and crew member suffered minor injuries, the Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) Southwest Regional Administration confirmed via its website.

Sichuan Airlines 3U8633 flight left Chongqing on Monday, heading for the Tibetan administrative capital of Lhasa. According to the airline's Weibo account, Sichuan Airlines claimed the incident was the result of a "mechanical failure," but no details have been given as to what caused the windshield to break off.
The jet's flight control unit was badly damaged by the resulting sudden decompression.

The jet's flight control unit was badly damaged by the resulting sudden decompression. Some parts of the system were reportedly sucked out of the gaping window, forcing the pilots to fly manually before landing the airliner safely at the south-west Chinese city of Chengdu.

One pilot, thought to have been the flight's first officer, suffered scratches and a sprained wrist during Monday morning's drama.

Despite these difficulties and the intense cold, the captain managed to slow the aircraft from its original speed of about 800-900 kph and land in about 20 minutes. Weibo users praised the captain as a hero for landing the flight safely.

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