A Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 encountered unexpectedly heavy turbulence over the Pacific Ocean, injuring 36 onboard, with 20 requiring hospitalization.
Heavy Turbulence On Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 Injures 36
Hawaiian Airlines flight 35 from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) hit unexpected turbulence at 10:30 am Hawaiian Standard time on Sunday. Although the seat belt sign was on at the time, at least 36 passengers were hurt when the plane unexpectedly began violently shaking and lost altitude.
20 minutes later the Airbus A330-200 landed in Honolulu and was met by a team of emergency responders. 36 passengers were treated on the scene, with 20 taken to local hospitals (including 17 passengers and three crewmembers). Of the 20, 11 were seriously injured while nine suffered minor injuries. No passengers were critically injured. The youngest patient treated was 14 months old. Other passengers experienced nausea and vomiting.
A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines shared the following statement:
“Hawaiian Airlines is continuing to support the 17 passengers and three crew members who sustained injuries today after flight 35 from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered severe turbulence. The Airbus A330 aircraft carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members landed safely in Honolulu about 10:50 a.m.
“We apologize to our guests for this incident and thank our crew members, first responders, hospital personnel and airport teams for their coordinated response. Hawaiian is conducting a thorough inspection of the aircraft before returning it to service.”
While thunderstorms were reported in the area, it is not clear what the source of the turbulence was.
The fact that incidents of heavy turbulence make headlines worldwide demonstrates how rare such events are. While pilots may receive some indication of approaching turbulence, sometimes everyone is surprised by how heavy it is or suddenly it materializes. The injuries are a poignant reminder that when the seatbelt sign is on, it is in your interest to fasten your seatbelt.
So the acronym is FAFO. 36 ppl found out.
A few route adjustments made today by United:
-SNA-HNL getting cut (don’t think this is surprising) but SNA-EWR is getting an additional daily flight
-EWR-BCN was upgraded from a 767-400 to a 767-10 for the summer season
-IAD-LIS was upgraded from a 757-200 to a 767-400 (much needed, still won’t be enough though)
Hopefully we will see more of these soon. Athens desperately needs more capacity, IAD-ATH shouldn’t be on a 787-8 and they could easily start ORD-ATH, hopefully next year.
Seriously who the F doesn’t wear their seatbelt the entire flight other than getting up to hit the restroom or grab something from above.
Don’t feel bad at all for their people unwilling to keep a seatbelt on while seated.
I’m astonished at the Armchair Turbulence Police who admonish those who were injured on the flight as being ignorant for not wearing their seatbelt. Given that it would have been a fairly routine time (30 minutes before landing) for many to be returning from the toilets, putting items overhead, or (god forbid) having forgot to buckle up as they settled in for landing, that of course there would have been some passengers not yet strapped in. As well, some of those were flight attendants. Seriously, have a bit of empathy. It’s not as if they were all dancing in the aisles and asking for it. And tell me that you have never realized in the past you forgot to buckle up on a plane or were coming back from the toilet or overhead after the seatbelt sign came on.