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16.16 15 May 2018


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A pilot has been hailed a hero for making a successful emergency landing after his co-pilot was partially sucked through their broken cockpit window of a passenger plane.

Liu Chuanjian braved the intense cold and blasting wind to coax the plane into a safe landing in southwest China.

He had to slow the Airbus A319 of Sichuan Airlines from its original speed of about 800kph - 900kph to land in about 20 minutes.

All 128 people on board survived the ordeal.

The cockpit window shattered at an altitude of about 32,000ft.

"The windshield burst suddenly and a loud noise was heard, and when I looked to the side, I saw that the co-pilot was already halfway out of the window," Mr Liu told the Chengdu Business Daily. “Luckily his seatbelt was tied.”

Mr Liu, a former flight instructor for the Chinese air force, said the plane was vibrating strongly and it was impossible to read the instruments.

"I didn't think about anything at all. I wanted to control the plane and land," he later told Sichuan Television.

The plane had been bound for Lhasa in Tibet from the southwestern city of Chongqing, but was diverted to the city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 160 million people had viewed or participated in discussions about the pilot on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The most popular chat forum on the incident was titled "My Hero Captain."

"This is a miracle in the history of Chinese aviation, and shows the special psychological mindset of flight instructors," one commenter wrote.

The safety director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said at a media conference that the plane "shed its right windshield" as it was flying over Chengdu.

"The windshield has not recorded any failures, nor did it require any maintenance and replacement work" before the incident, Tang Weibin said.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation, he added.

It was the second emergency landing in China in less than a month.

On April 15th, an Air China flight was diverted after a man briefly took hostage a crew member he was threatening with a fountain pen.


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