Worrying news from the mid-Atlantic as 14 passengers are injured in severe turbulence on a flight from Gatwick to Tampa. The British Airways turbulence incident occurred on Sunday 5th of May, however, has just come to light following social media footage of the aftermath.
Unfortunately, turbulence can strike when least expected. It can be made up of an invisible mass of moving air which can catch pilots by surprise. As such, everybody from airlines to manufacturers are doing all they can to try and avoid turbulence. In fact, Boeing is developing a laser system in an attempt to detect turbulence.
The British Airways incident
The latest turbulence issue to strike affected British Airways on Sunday. A Boeing 777-200 registered as G-VIIO was at FL390 according to The Aviation Herald. The aircraft was flying from Gatwick, UK to Tampa in Florida. Data from AirFleets.net shows that the aircraft was registered in 1999, and is just over 20 years old. British Airways has been the only owner of the aircraft. Footage posted on Youtube shows the immediate aftermath of the turbulence:
The aircraft was cruising around 500nm northeast of Bermuda at the time of the incident. Suddenly, around three and a half hours from Tampa, the aircraft hit the turbulence. During the event, 14 people were injured. This was originally reported as two members of the crew, and twelve passengers.
British Airways told Simple Flying that 14 passengers were taken to hospital as a precaution once the aircraft landed in Tampa. Despite original reports suggesting that crew were injured, British Airways confirmed that only customers were injured in the incident. The aircraft was met by paramedics. Additionally, engineers checked over the aircraft and ruled that it was safe to fly back to London.
British Airways issued a statement regarding the turbulence to Simple Flying reading “Safety is always our number one priority, and our cabin crew did everything they could to look after our customers after experiencing unexpected severe turbulence. They asked paramedics to meet the aircraft and some customers were examined by medical staff as a precaution.”
Fire in Las Vegas
The aircraft involved in the turbulence has previously been the site of another, unrelated incident. In 2015 while departing from Las Vegas, the aircraft’s left engine caught fire. The aircraft was brought to a stand on the runway, and all the passengers were evacuated. Thankfully there were no injuries in this incident.
The aircraft was subsequently repaired and returned to service after six months on the ground. The fire itself was put out four minutes after originally being spotted. This event closed the runway at Las Vegas for a total of four hours.
Before this, the same aircraft was involved in another incident too. On May 14th 2009 G-VIIO diverted to Shannon. On this date, it was also en route from Gatwick to Tampa. The aircraft was diverted as a precaution as there was confusion over a piece of luggage posing a security threat.
What do you make of the aircraft’s latest incident from Gatwick to Tampa? Were you affected? Let us know in the comments!