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Sichuan Jet's Cockpit Window Breaks at 32,000 Feet, Hurts Pilot

Dong Lyu
CHENGDU, CHINA - MAY 14: Maintenance crew check Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 after its emergency landing as a windshield on the right side of the jet's cockpit shattered on May 14, 2018 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. No passengers were injured in the emergency landing except one pilot sitting in the right seat suffered scratches on the face and a waist sprain. (Photo by Wang Longhua/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images) Photographer: China News Service/Visual China Group

A cockpit windshield on a Sichuan Airlines jet shattered while the plane was cruising at 32,000 feet, a rare incident that hurt the co-pilot and forced an emergency landing of the Airbus SE plane in southwestern China.

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 and a flight attendant suffered injuries as the right-side windshield broke, damaging some equipment in the A319’s cockpit as the jet lost cabin pressure.

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The plane eventually made an emergency landing in Chengdu and there were no fatalities, the regulator said without elaborating on the number of passengers on board. Airbus, which makes the single-aisle jet that can seat as many as 124 people in a typical two-class configuration, said it’s supporting the probe led by CAAC and the French investigation agency BEA.

Last month, the engine on a Southwest passenger jet blew out, shattering a window on a flight to Dallas from New York, killing one person. That incident happened on a Boeing Co. 737-700 model.

In 1990, the pilot of a British Airways plane was sucked out of the cabin window onto the nose of the jet after its windshield blew out at 23,000 feet . In the Sichuan Air incident, the co-pilot was partially sucked out of the cockpit, Chinese local media reported.

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The plane started service at Sichuan Air in July 2011.

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