A Sichuan Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing on Monday when the windshield of the aircraft blew out and the co-pilot was reportedly sucked halfway out of the cockpit.
The airline had reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet on its route from Chongqing, China, to Lhasa, Tibet, when a loud crack was heard and the windshield flew off, causing both a sudden loss of cabin pressure and the co-pilot, according to Reuters.
Pilot Liu Chuanjian was forced to make an emergency landing in Chengdu, China. He reportedly had to land the Airbus A319 manually since the navigation equipment malfunctioned due to the loss of pressure and the noise in the cockpit was so loud he could not hear air traffic control. The co-pilot, who was wearing a seatbelt, was pulled back in and miraculously only suffered scratches and a sprained wrist. None of the plane’s 119 passengers was injured.
While not quite a common occurrence, this is not the first time a pilot has been sucked out of a cockpit window. Back in 1990, pilot Tim Lancaster was sucked out of the cockpit window of a British Airways flight to Malaga, Spain, after an explosion knocked out the windscreen. A quick-thinking flight attendant grabbed Lancaster’s legs as he was flying out the window and held on. Another flight attendant grabbed the first flight attendant’s belt to ensure that he and the pilot didn’t disappear into the sky, while the co-pilot struggled to take the plane out of a nose dive that was triggered when the captain’s feet latched onto the controls.
Shockingly, everyone survived and the world got some downright jaw-dropping images.