Getting sucked halfway out of a plane window is the stuff of movies and nightmares and it happens extremely rarely.
But in mid‑April, a female passenger died after being partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines flight in the US when one of the aircraft's engines exploded. And then on Monday, the Washington Post reports that the co‑pilot of a Chinese Sichuan Airlines flight was also almost sucked out of his plane after a part of the cockpit windshield broke.
After taking off at the Chinese municipality of Chongqing, passengers and crew sensed that something was wrong about half an hour into their flight to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
A passenger said they experienced a few seconds of free fall before it stabilised again.
But that wasn't just turbulence. At the front of the plane, the pilot was fighting for the life of his colleague ‑ who at that point had been almost entirely sucked out of the plane and was only being held back by his seat belt.
The pilot said that suddenly, the windshield just cracked and made a loud bang. The next thing he knew, his co‑pilot was sucked halfway out of the window.
The pilot managed to pull his co‑pilot back into the cockpit, according to his own account. The co‑pilot only suffered non‑life‑threatening injuries in the drama that unfolded at an altitude of 32,000 feet.
The pilot then managed to land the Airbus A319 in the city of Chengdu in a turbulent descent that injured another crew member.
French Airbus representatives later said they would send teams to China to investigate what triggered the 7‑year‑old plane's malfunctioning.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.