Turbulence Hurts 21 on United Airlines Flight – How to Stay Safe

More than 20 people were injured Tuesday night when a United Airlines flight from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles ran into turbulence over the Midwest.

21 Passengers Taken to Hospitals in Turbulence Incident

The flight landed in Denver where 21 people were taken to local hospitals. Injuries ranged from minor to serious, including neck and back injuries, that.

CNN quoted a paramedic who commented on the passengers, saying, “It seems like they got jostled around pretty good.” Bit of an understatement.

Know What to Do Before Turbulence Hits

Flight attendants and pilots have long urged passengers to keep their seat belts buckled even when the seat belt light is off. As one veteran American Airlines flight attendant put it, “You don’t want to end up on the ceiling like pancake batter, do you?”

Turbulence: Can Occur at Any Time, in Any Weather

So what exactly is turbulence? The Federal Aviation Administration describes turbulence this way:

“Turbulence is air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly. It can be created by many different conditions, including atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms. Turbulence can even occur when the sky appears to be clear.” – FAA

This is the Kind of Damage Turbulence Can Do

I’ll bet you’ve heard the saying, “It came out of the clear blue sky” – that’s exactly what happened awhile back, right after a veteran airline captain reassured one nervous flier:

“Before I could even turn the aircraft around we were hit by severe turbulence which lasted for what seemed like ages. The passengers were screaming, some were being physically sick, and even I thought we might not make it out of there. Later, I walked back to see bags and belongings strewn across the floor, and the passengers were as white as ghosts. The nervous flyer from before had to be almost carried off the airplane that day he was so ill.” – from “What a Pilot Thinks About at 30,000 Feet”

Stay Buckled Up

Don’t take chances: stay in your seat and stay buckled up. If possible, stretch your legs (and use the restroom) before and after your flight.



Published: July 21, 2010