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    ‘Chinese Sully’ lands plane after decompression at 32,000 feet
    ‘Chinese Sully’ lands plane after decompression at 32,000 feet
    CHINA

    ‘Chinese Sully’ lands plane after decompression at 32,000 feet

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    by
    Viola Zhou
    Viola Zhou
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    No cockpit windshield. A co-pilot half blown out of the plane. And automatic systems failure.  

    It wasn’t a usual Monday morning in the office for Captain Liu Chuanjian of Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633.

    His Airbus A319 plane was flying from the southwestern city of Chongqing to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, with 119 passengers and nine crew members on board.

    But soon after the plane took off, the cockpit’s right windshield cracked, and then blew out – at an altitude of 32,000 feet.

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    Captain Liu Chuanjian later recounted the dramatic accident to local news site Red Star News:

    “The windshield suddenly cracked and gave a huge bang. When I looked to my side, the co-pilot had been partially sucked out. Half of his body was hanging out of the window. Fortunately he was wearing a seat belt.

    Group 5
    When I looked to my side, the co-pilot had been partially sucked out. Half of his body was hanging out of the window
    -
    Captain Liu Chuanjian

    “The sudden pressure loss and low temperature was very uncomfortable. I made every single move with great difficulty.

    “It was extremely loud during the emergency descent. The automatic systems could not help anymore. I operated the plane manually and relied on my own eyesight. I handled the controls with my willpower.”

    The aircrew of flight 3U8633 pictured after the successful emergency landing.
    The aircrew of flight 3U8633 pictured after the successful emergency landing.

    Over the course of 20 minutes Captain Liu wrestled the plane to the ground, and it touched down at 7:46 am in the city of Chengdu, about 170 miles from Chongqing.

    Liu’s co-pilot suffered scratches to his face and injuries to the waist, while a cabin crew member also suffered minor injuries. No passengers were reported harmed.

    The flight crew have received praise from the government and social media users for making the landing safely.

    “So many families were saved,” said Weibo user bbbbbbb_10.

    “That was the Chinese version of Sully,” commented Chengdushicao. “Pay our respects to the heroes.”

    The Airbus A319 plane was seen making an emergency landing on Monday after the cockpit’s right windshield blew out.
    The Airbus A319 plane was seen making an emergency landing on Monday after the cockpit’s right windshield blew out. Photo: Xinhua

    Plane windshields can be shattered by bird or lightning strikes, but it is rare for an entire windscreen to come off, according to Reuters.

    Authorities are still investigating what caused the windshield to break.

    VIOLA ZHOU
    VIOLA ZHOU
    Viola is a multimedia producer at Inkstone. Previously, she wrote about Chinese politics for the South China Morning Post.

    VIOLA ZHOU
    VIOLA ZHOU
    Viola is a multimedia producer at Inkstone. Previously, she wrote about Chinese politics for the South China Morning Post.

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