Avianca A330 Encounters Extreme Turbulence Over The Andes – 23 Injured

An Avianca flight en route to Buenos Aries, Argentina has experienced a passenger’s worst nightmare, suddenly and extreme turbulence.

The plane managed to limp onwards to its final destination and reported 23 injured.

This story is a little bit graphic and we caution those with flying anxiety to read with caution. 

Avianca A330 Encounters Extreme Turbulence Over The Andes – 23 Injured
Avianca A330-200 in flight

What happened?

On the 31st of January, an Avianca Airbus A330-200 (flight AV-965) was flying a routine night flight over the andies from Peru to Buenos Aries.  The pilot noticed that the weather was starting to get a bit rougher and asked passengers and crew to take their seats and fasten their belts.

Unfortunately, it seems that 23 (specifically 6 cabin crew and 5 passengers) people on board didn’t manage to get buckled up in time before the plane hit the turbulence. The plane then proceeded to fall 100 feet (30 meters) and rise 150 feet (45 meters), throwing items around the cabin and releasing several oxygen masks. This lasted approx 5 seconds and the flight crew resumed control of the aircraft after 12 seconds.

South America
The route of the aircraft. The incident took place over the Argentinian Andies.

This caused those walking around the cabin minor bruises and bumps as they were thrown to the floor. After assessing the state of the passengers and crew, the captain then decided to continue on for 80 minutes to Buenos Aries.

Avianca A330 Encounters Extreme Turbulence Over The Andes – 23 Injured
Avianca A330

According to the incident report, there happened to be two doctors on board who were able to diagnose and treat the minor injuries.

The aircraft was flying with the fasten seat belt sign illuminated, the according announcement had been made. Part of cabin crew and passengers did not have their seat belts fastened. The encounter of severe turbulence did not leave time to cabin crew and passengers, who had not yet fastened their seat belts, to react and fasten the seat belt. – Incident Report

The plane was met by medical staff upon landing, and 10 of the injured were sent to the hospital for further assessment. They were soon released.

The plane was then refueled and inspected and flew on its return flight six hours later.

Why is this event news?

Many expect turbulence on flights to be a fact of life, but extreme winds like this are very uncommon. With so many planes flying in the sky at any one time, pilots are very aware of the local weather and how rough the sky is. But according to the report, no other pilots on the same route had reported anything.

Thanks to modern technology these days, turbulent events (pun intended) like these are pretty rare. Modern aircraft, such as the soon to be built Boeing 797 actually have computer technology and turbulent detection sensors built onboard, ensuring that aircraft are not surprised by events like this.

The lesson we can learn from this is to always buckle your seat belt when seated.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.