Liu said he had to fly the plane manually because the automatic systems malfunctioned.
The cockpit experienced a sudden loss of pressure and drop in temperature and when he looked over, the cockpit's right windshield was gone.
"There was no warning sign".
The Sichuan Airlines flight from Chongquin to Lhasa had to be grounded immediately when the windshield suddenly broke open yesterday morning. A cockpit window that broke midflight has been covered up; the flight's co-pilot was partially sucked out of the window. Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air.
'I couldn't hear the radio and the cockpit's temperature dropped to minus 40 degree Celsius, ' he said.
"The crew members are in good condition and after full rest, they will continue to perform the sacred duty of safe flight", the airline said.
The windshield was shattered after half an hour of the plane taking off. While some netizens asked for rewarding the captain, others called for better safety measures.
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CAAC also said that the windshield was part of the original aircraft and had no previously recorded faults. A similar incident occurred on an Atlasglobal flight from Istanbul to north Cyprus a year ago.
Mrs Riordan, a banking executive, was pulled back into the aircraft by other passengers, who attempted to resuscitate her, but she later died of her injuries.
One female passenger also suffered minor injuries on the waist.
Wang Qianlong, one of the passengers, recalled some details about the frightening moment, in his hotel room soon afterwards.
A co-pilot was partially sucked out of the Airbus A319 after the windshield blew out at a height of 32,000 feet.
Chinese aviation officials have not released a cause for the broken windshield. Some cockpit equipment was damaged, the CAAC said. People were screaming, while bags and trays were flying everywhere, he said. The captain was sucked halfway out the BAC 1-11's window but survived because cabin crew held on to his legs while the co-pilot made an emergency landing. Liu said that the emergency landing was extremely hard because of the noise, flying debris, and inability to see much more than a few feet ahead of the aircraft.