Pilot partly expelled from Chinese jetliner after windscreen breaks

A Chinese pilot was partly sucked out of his cockpit at 32,000 feet after the windscreen broke on the Sichuan Airlines jet, authorities said Tuesday.

A Sichuan Airlines het flies lands at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, in January. A Sichuan pilot was nearly expelled from a flight Monday after the cockpit window broke in flight. File Photo by David Chang/EPA-EFE
A Sichuan Airlines het flies lands at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, in January. A Sichuan pilot was nearly expelled from a flight Monday after the cockpit window broke in flight. File Photo by David Chang/EPA-EFE

The flight’s captain said the co-pilot was partially expelled from the aircraft when the window broke on the Airbus A319 during a flight from Chongqing to Lhasa, Tibet, Monday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the co-pilot received minor injuries. A flight attendant also was injured but none of the 119 passengers were, officials added.

“Luckily, he had the belt buckled up. Many devices were malfunctioned, and the plane was jolting strongly. It was very difficult to control,” Capt. Liu Chuanjian said.

Liu and his crew were praised for the successful emergency landing.

The CAAC and French investigators, with jurisdiction over France-based Airbus, are looking into the incident.

A woman was killed last month in the United States after she was partly expelled from the passenger cabin on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 traveling from New York City to Dallas.

U.S. investigators said the window broke on the Southwest flight after it was hit by shrapnel from a failed engine.

Monday’s incident was similar to one in 1990 when a pilot was nearly pulled out of a British Airways jet bound for Spain. In that case, the windscreen broke and caused the plane to lose cabin pressure and make an emergency landing.

By Susan McFarland