I’ve said it often over the years, but we once again have a reminder: obey the seatbelt sign. It is there for a very good reason, as a dozen passengers on a transatlantic flight quickly realized. Turbulence can occur unexpectedly and cause tremendous pain and damage.
Turbulence Sends Passengers Flying On Transatlantic Flight
Aerolíneas Argentinas flight 133 was traveling from Madrid (MAD) to Buenos Aires (EZE) on October 18, 2022 when it hit some turbulence over the Atlantic. The Airbus A330-200 began to shake violently, throwing a number of passengers across the cabin and severely injuring three.
One passenger summed up the flight on Twitter:
“The last seven hours of the flight were a f***ing nightmare.”
The passenger also shared the photo above, which appears to show a woman with nose injuries caused by the incident.
Cierren Aerolíneas Argentinas, cueva de ladris y ñoquis, YA! pic.twitter.com/VARAYFpbkX
— Winston (@Winston_Dunhill) October 19, 2022
Here’s the thing. The turbulence did not come out of thin air. The flight deck was warned about it, notified passengers in advance, and turned the seatbelt light on. Yet many disregarded the seatbelt sign and sustained injuries when the turbulence hit. Sometimes, no advance warning is given, but often pilots will have a good idea that it is ahead, based upon reports from other pilots and air traffic control.
Aerolineas Argentinas told CNN:
“According to the information given by the crew, the safety belt lights were on and the corresponding announcement was made. The passengers that were more injured, and those that had to be transferred, were not wearing the safety belt at the moment of the turbulence.”
It added that three passengers were placed under “careful observation” upon landing in Buenos Aires while nine others were treated for minor injuries. It also added, “An evaluation to the aircraft did not show significant damage to its structure.” (bolding mine)
A total of 271 passengers and 13 crew members faced horrible turbulence on an Aerolíneas Argentinas flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires. While the vast majority were fine, a dozen passengers were injured for failing to properly wear their seatbelts. This incident is a simple but important reminder to wear your seatbelt when the seatbelt light is on and generally to wear it while seated even when the light is not on.
You can read my business class review of the Aerolíneas Argentinas Airbus A340-300 here.
image: Twitter / Winston Dunhill