I’ve been on some very rough flights over the years, but never the sort of horror story flights where passengers end up hospitalized. Nine passengers and one crew member were not so fortunate after severe turbulence on a flight to Houston yesterday.
Flight 1031 from Panama City to Houston encountered sustained turbulence for 20 minutes. The turbulence occurred 80-miles east of Cancun, in the vicinity of Tropical Storm Cindy.
14 passengers reported injuries, though only nine were hospitalized. One woman reportedly even slammed into the ceiling.
United issued a statement on the flight:
On Tuesday, United Flight 1031 experienced turbulence while en route from PTY (Panama City, Panama) to IAH. Paramedics met the aircraft to provide medical care and initial reports are that nine customers and one crew member were transported to the hospital for evaluation.
Our thoughts and concerns are with those who were injured, and we are reaching out directly to our customers to provide further care and support.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also issued a statement:
United Flight 1031, a Boeing 737, reported encountering severe turbulence in Mexican airspace, about 80 miles east of Cancun. The aircraft landed safely at George Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport just after 2:30 p.m.
Actually, the aircraft landed ahead of schedule:
Reminder: Buckle Up When Seated
Sometimes turbulence is expected and passengers can be warned, but sometimes it suddenly rears its ugly head.
But I guarantee you that every passenger injured on yesterday’s flight did not have a seatbelt on. If you do not already, make it a habit no matter the flight, no matter what cabin you are flying in, to buckle up when seated. It’s a simple, generally unobtrusive way to avoid potential injury. Consider it complimentary insurance.
I wish victims a speed recovery and offer this as another lesson that buckling up when seated on an airplane is purely common sense.
top image: BriYYZ / Wikimedia Commons