On the 18th of December, thirty-six people on board a Hawaiian flight from Phoenix to Honolulu were injured when it encountered severe turbulence about 30 minutes before landing. The turbulence sent passengers flying out of their seats.
The Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200, with registration N393HA, was performing flight HA35 from Phoenix to Honolulu with 278 passengers and 10 crew members on board. However. while the aircraft was descending towards Honolulu, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence.
Thirty-three passengers and three crew members were injured in the incident as passengers reported that some of them were lifted out of their seats and hit the cabin ceiling. Out of thirty-six, 20 of them were taken to nearby hospitals, and 11 of them were treated for serious injuries. The youngest patient was just 14 months old.
Footage shared on the internet show the damage sustained to the aircraft and the oxygen masks that were deployed as well.
One of the passengers Kaylee Reyes told local media that her mother had just sat down when the aircraft encountered turbulence and she did not have a chance to buckle her safety belt.
“She flew up and hit the ceiling,” Reyes said.
Emergency Landing In Honolulu
After encountering the turbulence, the A330 began its descent immediately and the pilots declared an emergency due to the number of injuries on board. Air traffic controllers gave the flight priority to land and the flight was met by the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services.
Hawaiian Airlines issued a statement stating that the aircraft encountered severe turbulence but landed safely. There was a patch of unstable air that probably caught the flight crew by surprise without any prior warning of this particular patch of air.
“HA35 from PHX to HNL encountered severe turbulence & landed safely in HNL at 10:50 a.m. today. Medical care was provided to several guests & crewmembers at the airport for minor injuries while some were swiftly transported to hospitals for further care.”
According to the National Weather Service in Hawaii, there was a weather advisory posted for thunderstorms in the areas that would have been included the flight path at the time of the incident, the flight possibly went into a thunderstorm.
A thorough investigation has been launched into the incident which would address precisely what the passengers and crew were doing at the time of the incident.