How Gale Force Storm Caused Hawaiian Airlines' 36 Injuries

How Freak Gale Force Storm Caused Hawaiian Airlines’ 36 Injuries

Why were 36 passengers injured and 11 seriously during a turbulence event on approach to Honolulu? It happened earlier today.

An unusually strong winter storm with incredibly whipping gale-force winds is making its way through Hawaii today and tomorrow. It is unpredictable, with calm one minute and cyclonic winds, thunderstorms, and heavy driving rain the next. This is an unusual storm, even for Hawaii, where storms can be extreme. Trees are down, among other things, and we haven’t heard the last of it. It is forecast to head out of Hawaii sometime tomorrow, thankfully.

Incident on Hawaiian Air Flight 35.

Our concerns, of course, are with those people hurt today on Hawaiian Air flight 35, an Airbus A330 wide-body plane that seats 278. The flight was on approach to Honolulu from Phoenix when the event occurred. Many injured passengers were taken to the hospital in Honolulu. Honolulu Airport reported a mass casualty incident.

In total, there were eleven serious injuries among 36 people hurt. The event occurred sometime just prior to 11 AM when we can report the winds, at least on the ground, were absolutely going nuts. The plane landed safely at 10:58 AM.

Honolulu EMS said that of those injured, there was a 14-month-old child and a teenager. They were hospitalized along with at least nine others. EMS reported that “Injuries included a serious head injury, lacerations, bruising, and loss of consciousness. None of the victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries. Photos and the video below seem to indicate a dent in the plane’s interior ceiling and luggage bins, such as might indicate someone hitting them.

We’ll reach out to Hawaii Airlines, but on Twitter, they said, “Medical care was provided to several guests & crew members at the airport for minor injuries while some were swiftly transported to local hospitals for further care. We are supporting all affected passengers & employees and are continuing to monitor the situation.”

A number of factors aren’t clear at the moment. Those include where the plane was in its approach; and whether the plane was flying through one of the prolific thunderstorms when the turbulence occurred. Was the seatbelt sign on, and were the injured seated and buckled up at the time?

Turbulence on flights to Hawaii.

How Gale Force Storm Caused Hawaiian Airlines' 36 Injuries

We’ve previously experienced horrible turbulence over the Pacific, while not of the nature and severity that caused this many unfortunate injuries. It was, even then, however, not fun or comfortable, and it became scary, especially during stormy conditions such as what existed today. Modern planes are, of course, built to withstand the stress of such turbulence, perhaps more so than their passengers.

This served as a reminder to stay buckled up when flying – seatbelt signs or not.

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21 thoughts on “How Freak Gale Force Storm Caused Hawaiian Airlines’ 36 Injuries”

  1. Why did the pilots not go around the storm being with all the Radar Systems on board? They should of saw that storm coming at them. Then also why did they not fly around it then land on another island temporarily then transfer people to other flights I stated if going through that storm? I feel sorry for all those on board and pray for the injured. The pilots still did a great job in landing the plane safely. We fly fly Hawaiian Airlines couple times a year to fly home from Seattle where I live now. It is still the Best & Safest Airline In The Skies. We would never change.

  2. As Forest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does” It doesn’t take a genius to know you have your seatbelt on when in your seat at all times

  3. People are awfully judgey here. Goodness. Apparently this came up suddenly, who knows if the seatbelt light was even on, have to wait for the report. It’s an over 5 hour flight from Phoenix, at some point a bathroom break is required. Judge that I guess. And I 99% of the time keep my seatbelt fastened when I’m sitting down. Prayers for those injured. I started out a Hawai’i trip going to urgent care a few years ago, not a nice way to kick off a trip to paradise.

  4. We departed Maui during that time to San Jose. The turbulence was bad for the first hour or so. Seat belt sign was on but some people didn’t buckle. When things calmed down manny took off their belts including children.


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