An airline captain successfully performed emergency landing in China today after a cockpit windshield suddenly broke and fell off from the aircraft during the flight.
All passengers were unhurt, but the cockpit's temperature dropped to minus 40 degree Celsius and a co-pilot was partially sucked out of the plane, said the captain.
The captain also told Chinese media that the co-pilot sustained injuries after having top half of his body dangling in mid-air.
The plane is seen missing a cockpit windshield after it landed in Chengdu, China, this morning (left). Passengers put on oxygen masks after the plane sent out emergency code (right)
It's said the co-pilot was 'sucked out of the windshield and had half his body hanging outside'
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.
One of the plane's windshields reportedly shattered about one hour into the flight when the Airbus A319 was flying over the city of Chengdu.
Captain Liu Chuanjian told Chengdu Business Daily that the incident caused his co-pilot to be partially sucked out of the window.
According to Xinhua, the captain issued an 'Squawk 7700' emergency code, alerting the air traffic control facilities of the dangerous situation.
The plane was diverted to nearby Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu. Within in 20 minutes at around 7:46am, the captain safely landed the plane at the airport.
Mobile phone footage emerged online shows flight attendants asking passengers to wear oxygen masks and putting on safety belts.
Zeng Jun, one of the passengers, told Chengdu Business Daily: 'The plane suddenly descended after flying about an hour in the air. It lasted for about five, six seconds.
'There were people screaming, bags dropping from the overhead cabin and lunch boxes scattering along the corridor.'
One passenger said the plane suddenly descended causing luggage and lunch boxes to drop to the floor (right). Passengers were told to fasten their seat belts and wear oxygen masks (left)
Ambulances and tarmac bus shuttles were waiting the flight to return at Sichuan Airport
According to Sichuan Airlines, the co-pilot sustained scratches on the face and minor injuries on the waist; one female passenger had minor injuries on the waist.
Both were taken to Chengdu No.1 People's Hospital, along with 27 flight passengers who claimed to be unwell after the incident.
The airline did not reveal the total number of passengers.
Captain Liu Chuanjian, who claimed to have flown the route more than 100 times, told Chengdu Business Daily that his co-pilot was luckily saved by a safety belt.
'He had half of his body sucked out the broken windshield at that time due to the sudden change of pressure.
'The cockpit temperature dropped to minus 40 degree Celsius and most of the controls went faulty.'
Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 was scheduled to fly from Sichuan to Lhasa in north China
The injured co-pilot and one female passenger were sent to a hospital for urgent treatment
The remaining passengers were told to take another flight at 11:50am to fly to Lhasa Gonggar Airport.
Initial statement from Sichuan Airlines stated that the incident had been caused by a failure of the flight control unit.
CAAC of Southwest Regional Administration and Sichuan Airlines will carry further investigation.