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Co-pilot 'sucked halfway' out of plane after explosive decompression at 32000ft

Co-pilot 'sucked halfway' out of plane after explosive decompression at 32000ft

Reports from the Chengdu Daily and elsewhere tell us that the disintegrating window injured the co-pilot and a member of cabin crew, de-pressurised the plane and led to the captain quickly descending. "The entire aircraft was vibrating and it was impossible to see the instruments and it was hard to operate", pilot Liu Chuanjian told reporters from the Chengdu Business Daily of the ordeal.

The Sichuan Airlines plane, 3U8633, was scheduled to fly from Chongqing to Lhasa. It departed Chongqing at 6:27am and was due to arrive in Lhasa at 9:27:am.

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 next thing I know my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window", he said.

According to Xinhua, the captain issued an "Squawk 7700" emergency code, alerting the air traffic control facilities to the unsafe situation.

A policeman stands guard in front of a China Southern Airlines plane as the plane of US first lady Michelle Obama departs from Chengdu airport, Sichuan province, March 26, 2014. Within 20 minutes at around 7:46am, the captain safely landed the plane at the airport. Footage recorded by the passengers also showed baggage falling from overhead lockers and oxygen masks popping out. The aircraft, which had been traveling at 800 to 900 k/hr, went into a nosedive that lasted five to six seconds, according to the newspaper.

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"There were people screaming, bags dropping from the overhead cabin and lunch boxes scattering along the corridor".

Thankfully, no passengers were hurt during the incident that could have otherwise turned tragic.

The airline did not reveal the total number of passengers. There appears to be significant damage to a number of the controls in the cockpit.

A passenger, Zhao Shihai, told the China Youth Daily that he realized what was going on when he was woken up by strong turbulence, which later subsided after the flight crew managed to close the cockpit door that had been pushed open.