11 People Seriously Injured After Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 Hits Turbulence
More than a dozen people were injured, including three crew members, after a flight bound for Hawaii experienced “severe instability” on Sunday, authorities said.
Rough airflows hit Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 from Phoenix, Arizona about half an hour from Honolulu, landed safely around 10:50 a.m., declared an emergency and given priority landing .
“Sometimes, these airbags appear without warning. It’s rare to have that level of extreme chaos. Jon Snook, vice president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Air, said in a press conference.
On the ground, a total of 36 people needed medical attention, some of whom had “nausea and very, very minor injuries,” Snook said.
After a medical examination, 20 people were hospitalized, 11 were seriously injured, although none were in critical condition, he added. Some injuries include cuts, bruises, and unconsciousness.
“It could certainly have been worse, and we are all very grateful for that,” he said.
According to the spokesperson, the three injured crew members, all of whom were hospitalized, were “on and off” in the cabin at the time of the incident.
Kaylee Reyes, a passenger, said Hawaii News Now that her mother had just sat down and had not fastened her seat belt when suddenly the storm hit. “She flew up and hit the ceiling,” Reyes said.
Another passenger, Jazmin Bitanga, said they experienced two “intense” descents. “I turned around and there were a few people bleeding and straining,” she told the outlet. “Around me there were a lot of people crying.”
An airline spokesman said the seat belt signal was on at the time the plane hit the airbag. He promised to conduct an investigation into the incident, with the cooperation of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The flight landed in the midst of a strong wave of cold air that swept the state.
A National Weather Service (NSW) meteorologist in Honolulu told the Associated Press that thunderstorms were seen in areas including the plane’s flight path, though a spokesman clarified at press conference that the plane was over the storm at the time of the incident. .
NWS tweeted that a strong cold front is passing and affecting Hawaii today and Monday with a variety of weather conditions, including high winds, potentially severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding.