Besides the fact that air travel is considered the safest way of traveling and there are most chances of sustaining injuries while traveling with another type of transportation, like boats, trains, or even vehicles, many people hesitate when it comes to boarding a plane and rather choose not to risk it and avoid traveling by air.
The chances of being involved in an air accident are very low—about one in 10 million—but sometimes planes experience issues during flights that might result in injuries to passengers or staff. That’s exactly what happened during Hawaiian Airlines’ flight from Phoenix to Honolulu on Sunday.
The Hawaiian Airlines airplane was hit by extreme turbulence moments before it was supposed to land, resulting in an immediate loss of altitude.
The Airbus A330-200 had approximately 300 passengers on board, many of whom were only traveling on vacation for the holidays, while others were returning home. 36 of those onboard, including three flight attendants, received some kind of medical treatment for the injuries they sustained. Twenty people were transported to a hospital for additional treatment, and eleven of those were said to be in serious condition. Most of the injured people did not have their safety belts on when the turbulence hit, sending them flying off their seats and hitting the ceiling.
Due to the number of people who were injured following the turbulence, the plane crew declared an emergency and was granted a landing priority by air traffic controllers. The reason for the turbulence is believed to be due to the weather conditions, as prior to the incident, meteorologists had forecast thunderstorms in that particular area. However, the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation in order to determine the probable cause of the incident.
Fortunately, the incident did not result in fatalities. Officials expect all of the injured people to make a full recovery very soon. Hawaiian Airlines officials said the cabin of the aircraft was damaged during the turbulence, and in the upcoming period it will undergo a thorough inspection and maintenance before it is returned to service.