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A Sichuan Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Chengdu, China (CTU) on Monday after one of the windshields broke off the aircraft mid-flight.

Sichuan Airlines Flight 8633 was traveling from Chongqing (CKG) to Lhasa (LXA) on board an Airbus A319, registration B-6419. According to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, after the aircraft was in the air for about 40 minutes, it reportedly experienced windshield separation at just more than 32,000 feet, causing sudden decompression.

Upon the aircraft’s emergency landing arrival at Chengdu, the right windshield of the aircraft was visibly missing. Prior to landing, parts of the cockpit system were reportedly sucked out of the aircraft as the result of decompression. The images in the tweet below clearly show the autopilot control panel was ripped off the dashboard.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) Southwest Regional Administration said on its website that none of the 119 passengers were injured in the incident, however, the pilot in the right seat suffered scratches and a waist sprain. In addition, the CAAC said that one cabin crew member was also injured on the flight’s descent.

Reuters reports that the CAAC has yet to release details on what caused the windshield to break off. Sichuan Airlines said on its Weibo account that the flight had experienced a “mechanical failure.” A spokesperson for Airbus said the aircraft manufacturer would provide any support requested by the CAAC and Sichuan Airlines.

According to Sichuan Airlines, passengers on board the flight were placed on a different aircraft to carry them to their final destination, the capital of Tibet, Lhasa.

The aircraft involved in the incident, B-6419, is just more than 6.5 years old, according to PlaneSpotters.net. The A319 is equipped with two IAE V2500 engines and was delivered to Sichuan Airlines in July 2011. Sichuan Airlines has been the only operator of this particular aircraft.

Incidents involving cracked windows and windshields are not that uncommon. However, it is rare for an entire window or windshield to break.

Monday’s Sichuan Airlines incident comes about one month after a passenger on board a Southwest Airlines flight was partially sucked out of a window after it had been blown open by pieces of shrapnel from an engine explosion. The passenger, Jennifer Riordan, died from her injuries.

Featured image by Wikimedia Commons.

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