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Why Feds Are Investigating Hawaiian Air Mass Injury Incident

The government’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just announced an investigation into yesterday’s Hawaiian Airlines mass injury incident of 36 people.

On Twitter, NTSB said that a recent safety report examined turbulence-related accidents and identified several safety issues that need to be addressed to improve turbulence avoidance and prevent future injuries.

The Hawaiian Airlines flight yesterday was about one-half hour from landing in Honolulu when it experienced severe turbulence. At least eleven people were taken to the hospital, while three dozen were treated on-scene.

Hawaiian said, “There was no warning of this particular patch of air at that altitude was dangerous. It caught everyone by surprise, which is often the case. There was an incident five years ago with our carrier that had a similar situation where you just don’t know it’s coming.”

While Hawaiian intimated that it was surprising, it wasn’t unprecedented. On the other hand, it’s interesting that NTSB seems to be taking the view that the incident should be further analyzed officially.

Oxygen masks fell from above following turbulence.

As indicated in yesterday’s article, Hawaiian also confirmed the internal damage to the A330 plane. According to them, seatbelt signs were illuminated, but some people injured were not wearing them. As they say, more will be revealed.

Passengers report and Twitter images confirm that oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling during the event. Further details about the incident will be revealed later, including the plane’s altitude, weather, and other conditions, and information in the plane’s data flight recorder. We’ll also learn more about what was happening on the aircraft then, according to Hawaiian.

NTSB Turbulence Report.



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17 thoughts on “Why Feds Are Investigating Hawaiian Air Mass Injury Incident”

  1. Aloha guys – just a bit of clarification. The oxygen masks weren’t deployed, they were knocked out of the overhead panel due to the turbulence. The same thing can happen on a hard landing. As you can see, only a few masks had dropped, and there’s no way to only deploy a few. It’s all or nothing and that only happens with a loss of cabin pressure, which didn’t happen in this event. Great job by the crew managing such an event, I hope for a speedy recovery for those injured!

  2. One picture showed damage to the overhead reading lights when a metal water bottle flew up and hit it. What goes up must come down. Hope no one else was injured by the water bottle. Need to re-think about other “projectiles” you may have in front of and around your seat…laptop, iPad, phones…

  3. The feds are doing their job. The NTSB always investigates when injuries occur on a plane as part of any protocol. Trying to imply there is more to this is quite funny in the headline. Secondly, every single person who was hurt was Not wearing their seatbelt and that has been reported in this case on national news. Sad to say, someone will attempt to get money out of Hawaiian Airlines for it.
    If that happens? It is all a money grab.
    The weather was very poor. I live in Hawaii
    and our Airport in Maui even had to close for a while. Hopefully, this matter is handled properly. Hawaiian Air is by far the best airline to and from the mainland.
    And I have flown them all.And I am not a HA employee by the way.

  4. It seems that too many people just don’t have an understanding of what’s going on while they are flying. Keeping your seatbelt in place while flying is just a good idea and certainly not a hardship of any kind.

  5. I have seen too many people take that seat belt off as soon as the sign goes off. I have also seen people on Hawaiian Air Flt. 33 jump up and run to the restroom while on the approach. Once we were on the downwind and parallel to Kahului airport and a woman jumps up and ran to the restroom. My wife and I keep those belts on from the time we push back until the door opens, unless headed to or from “the loo.”

    I am sure the Feds are investigating to make sure the flight crew had the Fasten Seatbelts sign illuminated and that the flight attendants had, or were going around doing their pre-landing checks.

    I would not read anything sinister into the NTSB investigating.

  6. The only times I’m not wearing my seatbelt on a plane is when I’m walking to the bathroom, in the bathroom, or walking back to my seat. If I’m in my seat, my seatbelt is securely fastened, regardless if the seatbelt sign is lit. I do feel for the flight attendants. They were probably walking the aisles doing their final checks, trash collection, etc.

  7. I thought that in-place airport windshear Doppler Radar might have detected this condition, or was it too far from the airport to show up? Wonder how many of the injured were not wearing their seatbelts! I used to be pretty casual about that, but after experiencing a few ‘lumpty-bumps’ flying, I now religiously keep my seatbelt on, many a little loose, but still buckled!

    1. Dennis D. The Doppler windshear detection is based at the airports and is only for aircraft on the final approach path, I think about the last 2,500 – 3,000 feet Above Ground Level. For the Kahului airport Runway 2, think about the point the aircraft begin to cross over the area near Maalaea.

  8. The NTSB investigates any incident where serious bodily injury o life occurs.

    This is not ground breaking news. Clear air turbulence literally happens all the time. Ask me how I know.

  9. I’m a frequent flyer. I believe the safety suggestions usually made by both the flight attendant and the pilot. Except when I use the bathroom, my seat belt remains buckled at all times. Sorry about the folks who were injured, but would love to know the number of injured who were not buckled in….

  10. I saw an interview with one of the passengers on TV. The passenger stated that her mom was injured when she flew out of her seat and hit the ceiling. Turns out she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. Sorry, not sorry.

  11. It’s NTSB’s job to investigate injuries that occur during flights, especially when so many people were injured.

    Some statistics on turbulence:
    “Approximately 58 people in the United States are injured every year by turbulence while not wearing their seat belts.
    In nonfatal aviation accidents, turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to airline passengers and flight attendants.”

    It comes down to keeping yourself safe while flying.

    “It is for this reason that the FAA requires passengers to be seated with their seat belts fastened when:

    The plane leaves the gate and as it climbs after takeoff
    The fasten seat belt sign is illuminated during flight
    The plane is landing or moving to the gate”

  12. One simple observation: pretty hard to hit your head on the ceiling if you have your seatbelt buckled. However, one can be hurt by those not wearing them landing in bad places or flight attendant carts etc. Feel sorry for the Flight Attendants.

  13. Hawaiian Airlines and their employees can Only do so much……especially when unexpected weather related situation creep on and you think that Adults would behave as adults but they don’t.

    All adults need to behave as Adults! And that seems to be a huge problem in the USA! It is easier to pass the buck to someone else!

    So, we will see what happens ?

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