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Pilot 'sucked out of cockpit window' heroically lands plane after windshield blowout

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

Sichuan Airlines 3U8633 was en route from Chongqing in south-west China to Lhasa in Tibet when the incident happened. All passengers were safe, although the co-pilot sustained injuries to the face and waist, and another crew member was slightly hurt during the emergency landing.

Liu heard a loud band and looked over; the cockpit's right windshield has been blasted off. "The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window", he was quoted as saying.

The co-pilot suffered scratches and a sprained wrist, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said, adding that one other cabin crew member was also injured in the descent. "The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges", said Captain Chaunjian of the accident. Everyone on the flight made it out safely and none of the 119 passengers on board were injured, according to reports.

This photo taken on May 14, 2018 shows employees checking a Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319 after an emergency landing, as a broken cockpit window (L) is covered, in Chengdu in China's northwestern Sichuan province.

In one month there has been several window and engine related problems resulting in one death and several emergency landings.

The airline will soon conduct an investigation, and the Sichuan Airlines incident happened almost one month after a woman died on a Southwest Airlines flight when her window broke.

Passengers were being served their breakfast when the plane plunged suddenly to 24,000ft. "The noise was so loud that we could barely hear the radio".

The most popular chat forum on the incident was titled "My Hero Captain". The cabin crew calmed the passengers and helped them put on oxygen masks.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 160 million people had viewed or participated in discussions about the pilot on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

"The windshield has not recorded any failures, nor did it require any maintenance and replacement work" before the incident, Tang Weibin said.

CAAC also said that the windshield was part of the original aircraft and had no previously recorded faults.

Windscreen cracks are a reasonably common occurrence and can be caused by lightning bolts or a "bird strike" - when birds hit the plane at lower altitude.

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