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Pilot 'sucked halfway out' of cockpit window mid-flight

15 May 2018

A CO-PILOT was "sucked halfway" out of a plane after a cockpit windshield blew out.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China is investigating the Monday incident and will focus on the design and manufacturing of the windshield, the regulator's safety chief Tang Weibin said in Beijing Tuesday.

The co-pilot of an Airbus A319 jetliner was sucked halfway out of the cockpit after the windshield of the plane suddenly shattered at 32,000 feet.

The co-pilot Xu reportedly suffered scratches on the face and the chest and is now hospitalised in Chengdu, according to state broadcaster Central China Television Station.

'The exploded window caused the cockpit to decompress immediately, everything in the cockpit was floating in the air. "The noise was so loud that we could barely hear the radio".

No passengers were injured although one first officer and one cabin attendant suffered minor injuries, according to the Chinese carrier.

After taking off at the Chinese municipality of Chongqing, passengers and crew sensed that something was wrong about half an hour into their flight to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. There was an immediate loss in cockpit pressure and temperature drop.

On 15 April, an Air China flight was diverted after a man briefly took a crew member hostage, threatening him with a fountain pen.

Liu Chuanjian braved the intense cold and blasting wind to slow the airliner from its original speed of about 800-900kmph to land in about 20 minutes.

His captain, Captain Liu Chuanjian, performed an emergency landing, making an unscheduled stop in Chengdu. A similar incident occurred on an Atlasglobal flight from Istanbul to north Cyprus past year.

"Other attendants in safe positions repeatedly reminded the passengers to put on oxygen masks", Wang told a reporter about the chaotic moment. "The oxygen masks on the plane all dropped out", he said. "People were shocked", an unidentified passenger said.

Sichuan Airlines, a regional airline headquartered in Chengdu, operates mostly domestic flights but also flies internationally to countries such as Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic.

With two high-profile instances of cracked windows on planes in a month, how does this happen, how frequently do windshields shatter, and what is the protocol for pilots in these emergency incidents?

Pilot 'sucked halfway out' of cockpit window mid-flight