"The cockpit window broke all of a sudden, followed by a loud noise", Liu recalled.
The flight was en route from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region.
Workers inspect a Sichuan Airlines aircraft that made an emergency landing after a windshield on the cockpit broke off at an airport in Chengdu, China, on May 14. The airline did not immediately comment Tuesday about what led to the shattered windshield, but apologized and referred to the incident as "mechanical failures". The airline, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and Airbus are investigating.
The plane landed in Chengdu at 7:42 a.m. on Monday. Everyone on the flight made it out safely and none of the 119 passengers on board were injured, according to reports.
Shaking violently, the plane plunged to 24,000 feet. "It was very hard to control".
"The plane was flying at a speed of more than 900 km per hour".
Airline co-pilot 'sucked halfway' out cockpit window, reports say
The co-pilot was wearing a seatbelt and was pulled back in, suffering only minor injuries, the report said. In Chengdu, they switched to another aircraft and continued their journey to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
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Liu said he had to fly the plane manually because the automatic systems malfunctioned.
Liu was previously a military pilot before he started working for Sichuan Airlines in 2006.
A pilot is being called a hero after making an emergency landing when the plane's windshield cracked mid-flight. A flight attendant was also injured during the melee. "The oxygen masks dropped ..."
One of the unharmed passengers told China News Service of their ordeal: "The crew were serving us breakfast when the aircraft began to shake". "All we could do was wait". "People were shocked", the agency quoted an unnamed passenger as saying.
"The plane started to drop really quickly", said passenger Ma Chuanfa. She was pulled back in by other passengers but died due to her injuries. "You performed a miracle!"
In the cockpit, the broken windshield caused significant damage. "But they made it, they saved many lives". Another flight attendant grabbed the first flight attendant's belt to ensure that he and the pilot didn't disappear into the sky, while the co-pilot struggled to take the plane out of a nose dive that was triggered when the captain's feet latched onto the controls.