It seems someone has it out for airplane windows these days. Just last month, a passenger on board a Southwest Airlines flight got partially sucked out of an airplane broken window and died. A few days ago, on May 14th, a Sichuan Airlines plane en route from Chongqing, China to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa was forced to make an emergency landing in the southern Chinese city of Chengdu after the plane’s windshield blew out, which resulted in one of the pilots being partially sucked out of the aircraft. The pilot survived, rightfully shaken up.
Captain Liu Chuanjian told the media that he heard a loud noise in the flightdeck after reaching the cruise altitude of 32,000 feet. “When I looked over to my side, half of my co-pilot’s body was hanging out of the window,” Mr. Chuanjian was quoted saying.
He added, “Fortunately, he was wearing a seatbelt.”
Despite the airplane’s malfunctioning and the sudden drop in pressure, the pilots handled this scary situation perfectly and landed the aircraft manually, without radio and gauges, preventing casualties.
The First Officer who had been partly sucked out of the plane was scratched up but suffered no serious injury. One additional member of the cabin crew staff was treated for a waist injury. According to the airline, one hundred and nineteen passengers were on board the flight when the incident took place. twenty-nine of the passengers were taken to the hospital but quickly released after it was determined that none had sustained an injury.
Many Chinese took to the social media platform Weibo to share their thoughts and reactions to the incident. Sichuan Airlines appears to be enjoying a steady stream of positive PR and press, mostly directed towards the pilots themselves. Many called for the pilots to be given a raise or be rewarded for their heroic efforts. A few, however, questioned why the incident happened in the first place and wondered if the airline should have prevented it from ever taking place.
H/T: The New York Times