A Sichuan Airlines co-pilot has suffered injuries after the cockpit windshield of his Airbus A319 shattered and separated from the aircraft.
According to Aviation Herald the Airbus A319 performing flight 3U-8633 “from Chongqing to Lhasa (China), was en-route at 9800 meters (FL321) about 60nm west of Chengdu over mountainous terrain, when the right-hand windshield burst completely, the glass hitting and injuring the first officer.”
The passenger oxygen masks were released, the flight control unit (autopilot panel) was damaged.
Aviation Herald reported that the captain initiated an emergency descent to 7100 meters (approx FL235 – minimum safe altitude due to mountains), turned the aircraft around and diverted to Chengdu descending the aircraft to 3000 meters as soon as clear of the mountains.
The A319 landed safely at Chengdu.
The first officer and a cabin crew member received injuries.
China’s CAAC said that the first officer received a waist sprain and scratches.
The CAAC Southwest Regional Administration released an event bulletin summarizing preliminary investigation results suggesting, that the aircraft was en-route at 9800 meters at 0.74-0.75 mach when the right-hand windshield developed cracks.
The crew received an ECAM message regarding the windshield heating soon followed by the windshield bursting.
The first officer and a flight attendant received minor injuries (scratches).
It said that the flight crew applied the related standard procedures (emergency descent), the passenger oxygen masks were released.
It added that the flight crew was unable to establish communication with ATC due to the noise in the cockpit and thus signaled the emergency via the transponder.
The windshield was still the original one, the aircraft had accumulated 19,912 flight hours in 12,920 flight cycles, no issues were outstanding on the day of the occurrence.
No windshield fault messages were recorded during the last 15 days.