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Miracle at 10,000 meters

(People's Daily Online)    15:38, May 28, 2018

A normal 34-minute flight won’t take you very far, but for 119 passengers and 9 crew members on May 14, 2018, they had a brush with death.

Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 from Chongqing to Lhasa was flying at an altitude of 9,800 meters over Chengdu when suddenly, at 07:08, a windshield in the cockpit cracked and shattered, causing the whole plane to shake violently and sucking the co-pilot halfway out of the plane.

With below freezing temperatures, the deafening sound of wind, dwindling oxygen supplies, and malfunctioning equipment inside the cockpit, there was little chance that the passenger jet would land safely. In face of one of China’s most challenging air emergencies, Captain Liu Chuanjian, a former instructor at an air force flight college, only had one thing on his mind: Don’t let the plane crash, land safely.

With the flight control unit ripped apart and no autopilot, each and every decision made by the captain, who was flying the plane manually, was a matter of life and death. Another co-pilot, who was taking a rest in the passenger’s cabin before the emergencyoccurred, rushed into the cockpit and kept stroking the captain to help keep him warm, while making flight plans and informing ground control of their moves.

Noticing the emergency from the radar at 07:10, authorities immediately cleared the airspace and runways at Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to create the best environment possible for the passenger jet to land.

At 07:42, flight 3U8633 landed safely in Chengdu. Apart from a co-pilot who sustained bruises and a flight attendant who was slightly injured on her waist, all passengers and crew members escaped the emergency unscathed, in what many are calling a“miracle” in China’s and the world’s civil aviation history.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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