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Co-pilot partially sucked out of broken cockpit window, escapes with minor injuries

iStock/Thinkstock(CHENGDU, China) — A Chinese airliner was forced to divert to Chengdu on Monday after a front windshield broke, injuring two crew members, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

A co-pilot of Sichuan Airlines Flight 3U8633 was sucked halfway out of the cockpit window before managing to return to his seat, Chinese state media reported. He suffered scratches to his face and a sprained waist, Chinese officials said. A flight attendant also suffered minor injuries during the incident.

The captain of the flight, Liu Chuanjian, said the incident occurred 32,000 feet in the air and with no warning. The co-pilot’s seat belt, he said, saved him.

“The cockpit window broke all of a sudden, followed by a loud noise,” Liu told state media. “The sudden decompression sucked part of my co-pilot’s body out and left him hanging by his safety belts.”

Twenty-seven of the 119 passengers on board the Airbus A319 were injured, Sichuan Airlines said in a statement.

“All people were shouting. We just tried our best to reassure the passengers and make everyone believe us that we could touch down safely,” a flight attendant said.

State media quoted a civil aviation official, Jiang Wenxue, as saying the pilot “truly performed a miracle.”

Chinese aviation officials have not released a cause for the broken windshield. The airline, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and Airbus are investigating.

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