On September 9th, passengers and crew members on board a Eurowings A319-100 were injured due to turbulence. The flight was 20 minutes away from its destination of Berlin Tegel, Germany when the incident occurred.
The AV Herald reported that the Airbus A319, registration D-AKNL, was performing flight EW-8855. The service departed Lamezia-Terme, Italy before encountering severe turbulence. Eurowings noticed clouds approaching, so the crew announced for passengers to fasten their seat belts and turned on the signs.
The turbulence was, however, already in effect by the time that announcement was finished. Subsequently, three members of the cabin crew and five passengers were injured due to not being secured in their seats. Despite the injuries, the aircraft went on to perform a safe landing in Berlin. The flight landed at 16:52, 17 minutes later than its scheduled time of 16:35.
On landing, medical services tended to the injured groups. Medics reported that there was one serious injury and seven minor injuries. None of the injuries were life threatening but six people were transferred to a local hospital.
This news comes a week after a Frontier Airlines flight attendant broke his leg due to severe turbulence. Flight F9-461 was descending towards Denver International Airport when the incident happened on August 27th. The low-cost carrier holds a perfect seven out of seven score for safety, but clearly incidents involving turbulence are out of its hands.
This followed a similar incident where 16 people were injured when an Evelop Airlines A330 hit turbulence. Flight 838 was on the way to Spain after departing from Mauritius. While flying over Ethiopia, turbulence was so severe that some passengers even hit the ceiling. Also, some items flew around the cabin, which caused damage to the airliner’s interior.
Another incident involving turbulence happened in the same week, this time on an All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787-8. Flight NH-963, had hit severe turbulence on August 19th. This encounter caused four members of the 225 on board to get injured.
These accidents are unfortunate and can occur unexpectedly. Airlines continue to stress the importance of wearing seatbelts while flying, even when the sign is not on. The speed at which turbulence can affect an aircraft means there’s not always time to secure your belt, so the advice now is, if you’re seated, do up your belt.
The standard cause of these incidents is turbulent air in the atmosphere. Jet streams cause sudden changes in wind speed that can shake the aircraft. The other type of turbulence is thermal, which is created by hot air that rises, usually from cumulus clouds and storms.
Even with extensive planning and organization, incidents such as these could happen at any time. Research on climate change suggests that turbulence events are likely to become more frequent and more severe.
Simple Flying reached out to Eurowings for comment on the incident but had not heard back prior to publication. We will update with any further announcements.