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Co-Pilot Sucked Out Plane Window After Airbus Windshield Shatters at 32,000 Feet

Alana Abramson

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 pilot of Sichuan Airlines Flight 3U8633 managed to safely make an emergency landing in the Chinese city of Chengdu Monday, despite being exposed to freezing temperatures and extreme conditions, according to reports in Chinese media.

The co-pilot and one other crew member sustained minor injuries, but none of the 119 passengers was injured, Reuters reports.

The incident bears some similarities Southwest Airlines flight that made an emergency landing after the engine exploded and shattered a window – partially sucking out passenger Jennifer Riordan. The pilot safely landed the plane, but Riordan died of her injuries.

The plane was flying from Chongqing to the Tibetan city of Lhasa when the cockpit windshield shattered.

Liu Chuanjian, the pilot who managed to land the plane, told a local Chinese news outlet that there was no warning before the disaster.

“There was no warning sign. Suddenly, the windshield just cracked and made a loud bang,” he told the Chengdu Economic Daily, which was cited by Reuters. “The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window.”

The crew managed to pull the co-pilot back into the plane and he suffered only minor injuries.

One other crew member was injured, but all passengers on the plane emerged unscathed, according to local reports.

Airbus, which is investigating with local officials, has sold at least 1,500 A319 planes across the world, according to the Wall Street Journal.