Four pics that will make you keep your seat belt on throughout a flight

2014-02-20 11:24
Cape Town - A Cathay Pacific 747-400, which departed from San Francisco, en route to Japan on Tuesday is the latest plane to experience violent turbulence, injuring an estimated 11 people.

Latest update on turbulence-hit SAA plane: 18 of 20 injured passengers discharged, pilot called a hero for safe landing

Update: 'I watched a baby fly out of its bassinet as turbulence-hit SAA flight dropped like a stone

Update: Baby on board turbulence-hit SAA flight

Update: Passengers seriously injured as SAA flight hits severe turbulence

The plane carrying 321 passengers and a crew of 21 encountered the turbulence near Hokkaido, which lasted for about 2-minutes.

Passengers on board had to be rushed to hospital after the flight landed about six hours later. Some passengers questioned why the airline had not made an emergency landing sooner, considering the seriousness of some of the injuries.

Turbulence — described as "clear-air turbulence" when it occurs in otherwise calm, blue skies — happens when a mass of air moving at a particular speed meets another mass of air that's moving at a different speed.

This can be caused by jet streams, thunderstorms, weather fronts and air moving around mountains, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Pilots often have some indication that it's about to happen and can switch on the seat belt signs - but sometimes it happens without warning. Causing the following to happen...

A passenger said He felt like he was a on a roller coaster during the turbulence.

Cable News television showed one passenger being taken away in a stretcher.

This week violent turbulence also triggered "pandemonium" aboard a United Airlines flight in the US and sent passengers and crew flying through the cabin, according to company representatives and passengers. Federal safety officials said  they were looking into this incident that left three crew members and two passengers injured.

Drinks had just been served and passengers were moving around the cabin on Flight 1676 from Denver to Montana when the plane started to lurch, said passenger Ejay Old Bull.

"It was a solid 20 seconds of pandemonium," said Old Bull, a 26-year-old graduate student. "What really hurt people and what really got everyone panicked was when the plane tipped to the right and dropped for about four or five seconds. That's when people started praying."

So what do you do during an extended bout of  unexpected turbulence?

- Pay close attention to your flight attendant's instructions - if they seem calm and unconcerned you have nothing to worry about.
- If violent turbulence happen while you don't have your seat belt on, try to keep your body limp to avoid any serious injuries
- hold onto the arm rests if you can or attempt a brace position to protect your head and neck.
- try to get your seat belt fastened as soon as possible.

As one of our readers put it. "The flight attendant makes the announcement that keeping your seat belt lightly fastened during the flight is a good idea. What he or she doesn’t say is ‘because if you don’t, and the plane hits an air pocket in turbulence, you will be hurled against the luggage racks and possibly break your neck’."

You have been warned.

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Read more on:    flights  |  travel  |  lifestyle  |  aviation

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