News of another severe air turbulence event on Hawaiian Airlines is just now coming to light. As a result, some passengers were evacuated to the hospital upon landing, after the flight hit severe turbulence half-way to its destination.
The passengers were onboard HA 451, a flight BOH editors have enjoyed many times. The Airbus A330-200 departed Honolulu yesterday (Thursday) at 12:47 pm, and landed in Sydney at 7:58 pm (Friday). There were 175 passengers and crew onboard the plane.
Half-way through the flight, Hawaiian Airlines encountered extreme turbulence.
The flight was at about five hours into the 11 hour and 11 minute flight when very strong winds impacted the plane. Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney was notified, and first responders including ambulances met the aircraft on arrival.
“Service from Honolulu to Sydney encountered unexpected severe turbulence” — Hawaiian Airlines.
Hawaiian’s spokesperson told news media that “Four passengers and three flight attendants were initially treated by a doctor onboard and our crew members, in consultation with physicians on the ground.” After landing, local paramedics came onboard and evaluated twelve passengers for injuries, with an unknown number of those taken to local hospitals. It is believed that the injuries were minor but we could not confirm that.
Hawaii said that the flight back to Honolulu (HA452), would await what they called a “thorough inspection.” The inspection must have gone well, inasmuch as that flight got in the air just 40 minutes later than expected, and is currently en route to Honolulu, with an estimated arrival time of 11:30 am today (Friday).
Hawaii added that “Our Immediate priority is to continue to care for our passengers and crew affected by this turbulence event, and we thank Sydney Airport first responders for their swift assistance.”
Prior Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 turbulence event injured dozens.
A prior Hawaiian Airlines mass casualty incident hasn’t been forgotten. In that event, HA 35 encountered extreme clear-air turbulence on December 18 of last year when it was approaching Honolulu. Three dozen people were injured, with 20 going to the hospital, and 11 seriously injured following the turbulence that resulted in an altitude drop that sent passengers smashing into overhead luggage bins and the aircraft ceiling. The flight crew asked for trained medical or firefighters to step forward to help prior to landing.
Unlike today’s incident, which occurred five hours prior to landing, HA 35’s issues occured just prior to its descent, and about 1/2 hour before landing.
It isn’t clear if the seatbelt sign was on, but…
The plane was cruising at a high altitude when the event occurred. We don’t yet know if the seatbelt sign was illuminated or not when the turbulence struck. We certainly have changed our attitudes about staying buckled up at all times on airplanes. That partly came as a result of the Flight 35 incident. It’s obvious that airlines, as much as they would like to, and despite all of the technology, still don’t have a complete crystal ball regarding turbulence.