OVER one hundred passengers were onboard a Boeing passenger aircraft when it plunged 10,000 feet in three minutes after the cockpit window cracked.
The aircraft was forced to do an emergency landing in China after an electrically-heated cockpit windscreen started sparking, and then suddenly cracked.
Ruili Airlines Flight 6558 reported the malfunction just 30 minutes after take-off yesterday, the Chinese domestic carrier said in a statement.
Images believed to be from the plane cockpit show large cracks in the corner of the left windscreen after the reported failure of its heating layer.
The Boeing 737 passenger jet – bound for the city of Kunming from Xi’an – made an emergency landing at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in south-western China at 11:35pm Beijing time.
Flight-tracking data shows the plane made a rapid descent immediately after reporting the incident, dropping some 10,000 feet in just three minutes before touching down, reports said.
The aisle was strewn with food cartons and passengers’ personal items from the sudden drop.
Ruili Airlines said the passengers and crew onboard DR6558 arrived safely, and that the aircraft was being inspected by Chongqing ground crew.
The cause of the suspected malfunction has yet to be determined.
All 178 passengers were put on a second plane dispatched to Chongqing from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province in south-western China where the airline is based.
The aircraft returned to Kunming Changshui International Airport at 6:01am local time today, with an overall delay of just under six hours.
In another incident in May 2018, Sichuan Airlines Flight 8633 suffered cockpit windscreen failure when one of the glass panels separated mid-air and a first officer was partially sucked out of the aircraft.
The high-profile case was adapted into the 2019 Chinese film The Captain.