A Southwest Airlines flight attendant reportedly fractured her back after a rough landing in Orange County, California. No other passengers or crew members were injured.
Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Fractured Back Upon Rough Landing In California
The incident occurred on July 1, 2022 on Southwest Airlines flight 2029 traveling from Oakland (OAK) to John Wayne Airport in Orange County (SNA). 137 passengers and five crew members were onboard. Upon landing on runway 20R, one flight attendant felt excruciating pain in her back and could not move.
A final National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report was just released detailing the injury:
A flight attendant was injured when Southwest Airlines Flight 2029 landed at the John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA), Santa Ana, California.
According to the flight crew, they were flying a visual approach to runway 20R at SNA. They were aiming for the touchdown zone due to its short runway and trying to fly the aircraft onto the runway with minimal floating. However, it ended up being a firm landing. Shortly after exiting the runway, the flight crew were informed that the “B” position flight attendant (FA) seated in the aft jump seat had injured her back on landing and required medical assistance.
According to the FA, after securing the galley and cabin for landing, she sat down in her jumpseat, secured her seatbelt harness, and got into the brace position. She indicated that the plane hit the ground with such force that she thought the plane had crashed. She immediately felt pain in her back, neck and she could not move. Paramedics evaluated her and transported her to a local hospital where she was later diagnosed with a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra.
The runway is relatively short at John Wayne Airport, which leads to harder landings than at other airports because planes have to land quickly and put on the brakes more forcefully. Interestingly, the NTSB did not place any blame on the pilot for the hard landing. The aircraft remains in service.
I do wonder if the flight attendant had any pre-existing conditions, considering no other crew members or passengers were harmed? Southwest refused to comment on the incident.
Also, why did the flight attendant assume the brace position for landing?
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant suffered a broken back (compression fracture) after a rough landing in Orange County, California. Her condition is not known, but the NTSB report does not suggest any wrongdoing on the part of the pilots.