A Sichuan Airlines co-pilot was treated for scratches and a sprained wrist after the plane’s windshield shattered and sucked half of his body out the window.
No one was killed from the incident, which occurred about an hour into the flight headed from southwestern China to Tibet on Monday morning.
About 27 passengers sought medical assistance after the plane made an emergency landing in Chengdu, China, though airline officials say none appeared to be seriously hurt.
In an interview with the Chengdu Business News, Captain Liu Chuanjian explained that after he heard the windshield crack, he turned to his co-pilot to see “half his body suspended out of the window.” Thankfully, his seatbelt was still in tact.
While freezing air was blasting into the cockpit, Liu struggled to maintain control of the turbulence that was throwing the plane into chaos. He recalled:
“Every item in the cockpit was flying around. Most of the equipment was malfunctioning. And the noise was so great, the radio was inaudible. The entire aircraft was vibrating — it was impossible to see the instruments and it was difficult to operate.”
Thankfully, Captain Liu, a former military pilot, was able to perform some life-saving maneuvers.
The airline has since apologized and referred to the incident as “mechanical failures,” adding in a statement:
“We thank all passengers on this flight for their understanding and tolerance … The crew responded calmly and properly handled it in an emergency.”
France’s BEA accident investigation agency and Airbus are sending officials to China to investigate.
[Image via Sichuan Airlines.]