Severe Turbulence on Hawaiian Airlines Flight
An Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu hit severe turbulence about 30 minutes before landing on December 18th. The incident injured at least 36 people, with 20 of them taken to emergency rooms.
The plane was carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members. The turbulence sent passengers flying out of their seats. The Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said in a statement that eleven patients were in serious condition.
“HA35 from PHX to HNL encountered severe turbulence & landed safely in HNL at 10:50 a.m. today,’ Hawaiian Airlines said in a tweet yesterday. “Medical care was provided to several guests & crewmembers at the airport for minor injuries while some were swiftly transported to local hospitals for further care.”
Paramedics and emergency medical technicians treated patients ranging in age from just 14 months to adults. Some of the injuries included serious head injuries, cuts, bruises, nausea, and loss of consciousness.
“It felt like free-falling,” Jacie Hayata-Ano told CNN, describing being lifted off her seat with her seat belt on. “After the shaking was over, a crew member came over the speaker system asking for any trained medical or military personnel to help with injured passengers,” she said.
Jon Snook, Hawaiian Air executive vice president and chief operating officer, told reporters the “fasten seatbelt” signal was on at the time of the incident. “Sometimes, these air pockets occur with no warning. It’s rare to have that level of extreme turbulence. It was a very extreme case of mid-air turbulence,” he said. “We’re very thankful the extent of the injuries was not critical. It could have been worse.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.
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