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* SriLankan denies pilot lost control of London bound flight; probes a crack in the windshield
Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 10:50 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka's national career SriLankan Airlines responding to reports of a an alleged nose dive by the pilot of London bound flight on January 01 said today at no time the pilot lost control of the aircraft and the flight retuned after a crack appeared in the windshield in midair.

Issuing a statement the Airline clarified that "at no point did the captain of the flight lose control of the flight or it experienced a nosedive," and the maneuver taken to lower the altitude to 10,000 feet was according to the recommended procedure.

According to the Airline, the cockpit crew of the SriLankan flight UL 503 bound for London Heathrow Airport observed a crack in the windshield about 45 minutes after the take-off.

The windshield of the aircraft has three layers of glass and it was the center-layer which had developed the crack, the Airline said.

"As per the manufacturers' recommended procedure the pilots descended the aircraft to 10,000ft as a precautionary measure to minimize the differential pressure on the windshield. Therefore, in the interest of the passengers' safety and the aircraft, the pilots decided to return to Colombo for the replacement of the windshield," the statement said.

"SriLankan wishes to emphasize that it is the standard procedure for any airline to descend to 10,000 feet to prevent the differential pressure on the windshield and at no stage the aircraft or the passengers' safety was compromised," it said.

Accordingly, the flight UL 503 has returned to Bandaranaike International Airport without incident nearly two hours after take-off.

The Airline announced that currently investigations are underway to identify the exact reasons in order to prevent incidents of similar nature.

"SriLankan wishes to reiterate that the Airline always maintains the highest safety standards the industry requires, and considers the well-being of the passengers its foremost priority which under no circumstance will be compromised," the national carrier which has an excellent safety rating said.

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