Seven injured by plane turbulence

2012-01-08 08:22

Sydney - Seven passengers were injured and four needed treatment in hospital after a Qantas A380 flight from London to Singapore was rattled by strong turbulence, the Australian airline said on Sunday.

The Airbus superjumbo was three hours from Singapore when it hit a storm over Indian airspace early on Saturday and encountered "severe turbulence", a Qantas spokesperson said.

"Seven passengers were impacted, four of them were taken to hospital on arrival in Singapore. They've all since been discharged and cleared to fly," she said.

They mostly suffered bruising and had been out of their seats when the air pocket hit, she added.

"The aircraft was assessed, there's no damage and it's scheduled to arrive (in Sydney) at 21:00 this evening."

The incident extended a run of misfortune for Qantas's A380 fleet. One of the airline's double-decker planes suffered a mid-air engine explosion after take-off from Singapore in November 2010. The plane landed safely.

The same Qantas plane was last week announced to be one of several A380s in operation by airlines to have had small cracks on their wings. Both Airbus and the carriers said there was no safety issue.

  • Chris - 2012-01-08 08:45

    Qantas again! I flew with them London, Sydney, NZ, Melbourne, London. At that time there service was bad in many respects, now it seems there safety is also poor. Why were the passengers not told to sit and strap in? Pilots have all the radar and related equipment to see weather well in advance and avoid this kind of incident. I'll not use them again.

      Robin - 2012-01-08 09:08

      Chris: flying into turbulence has nothing to do with air safety in general nor Qantas safety in particular. I have flown Qantas many times and they, like all other airlines, recommend that passengers remain belted up while seated. Have you also not noticed that some air passengers pay no attention whatsoever to pilot or cabin crew announcements? I have; often. Not all turbulent conditions can be visualised on radar - ever heard of clear air turbulence (CAT)? I once experienced severe CAT when approaching PE on a SAA flight. On this occasion there simply was no time to warn passengers and cabin crew because CAT does not show on radar, OK? Maybe you never read reports of air passengers receiving serious injuries on flights passing over the Ruwenzori Mountins in central Africa. Perhaps you might also avoid flying SAA, Virgin, BA, Austrian and Swissair since they too have experie3nced bad weather conditions and injured passengers. So don't go blaming Qantas for a natural and unavoidable event - the4y have an excellent safety record and I'll fly with them again and again without fear.

      Andries - 2012-01-08 09:35

      Chris - neither do I like Quantas (nor SAA for that matter and for good reason) but turbulence CAN be sudden if it is in clear air and there is no way of having advance knowledge of it. The report states that they encountered "bad weather" over India so CAT was not anissue here, and in such an instance the crew would have had advance warning. Turbulence is part of thunderstorm activity which is visible on radar a long distance out. The fact that only a few people of the 500 or so on board were injured indicates that the crew in fact had instructed passengers to return to their seats and engage their seat belts. I have often (in fact on every flight) seen passengers ignoring this. The question which needs to be asked of Quantas however is the following: Was the turbulence the only reason for the passengers' injuries or was it a repeat of the Airbus bane of a run-away autopilot again? Possibly Quantas should put that fact out to be published.

      Had - 2012-01-08 10:00

      @Chris - I'll go with what Andries says - it never ceases to amaze me how many people unclip their seatbelt and stand up when taxiing to the apron despite the fact that the air hostess has JUST announced that people should remain in their seats with their seat belts fastened until the sign goes off. I would bet that most of those injured in this case were ignoring the air-crew instructions, in which case they got what they deserved. How many people do you see using their cell phones after they have already been told to turn them off ? Personally I think this is a waste of time as I cannot see a cell phone interfering with a plane's electronics, but rules are rules and they are there to be broken.

      chhpurdy - 2012-01-08 10:59

      Chris what do you know of avionics?? NOTHING!!! you talk rubbish. That plane is fitted with the very best dopler radar system, but air pockets are invisible. Storms and rain are detected but wind shear and pockets as yet cannot be seen. So shut up.

      Alfred - 2012-01-08 17:51

      I may be wrong but as far as I know Qantas is the only major airline in the world that has never had a fatal accident. In my books that would make them the safest airline that there is.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-08 18:37

      Chris, classic fail. Some advice: Don't let everyone know you are stupid.

      blowdart17 - 2012-01-08 18:39

      @Andries "Turbulence is part of thunderstorm activity which is visible on radar a long distance out." Turbulence is not related to thunderstorm activity, rather it is related to the characteristic of airflow of the ground, and so called air pockets.

      GoodFella - 2012-01-08 19:30

      Chris, I almost lost my entire family to "CAT". Please be informed before offering "suggestions"! You may one day eat your words when you have no choice but to use Qantas! Safe travelling! Oh, by the way, you're an embecile!

      erich.schuette - 2012-01-08 21:31

      It's called Clear Air Turbulence, and you can see at as clearly as the breeze from your desktop fan.. Not always predictable at all. It happens to a lot of aircraft.. All makes and airlines. Just because of this doesn't mean they are unsafe. Passengers should always keep their seatbelts lightly fastenend. I, and I think a few others that have replied, know this for a fact, as we sit in the sharp end of the aircraft

      Boer - 2012-01-08 23:06

      These Australian Quantas lot sounds pretty unsafe to me. Remind us NOT to fly with this pow wow lot.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-08 09:38

    When a plane hits a cat at that speed & altitude things become a little hairy inside- some people might even have to go for the furball bag!

  • Gail - 2012-01-08 10:34

    Three hours from landing they hit air turbulence. People flying long distance go to the bathroom or walk around every so often for numerous reasons such as cramp or crying babies or because they are not seated next to family. For large people those straps can be very uncomfortable and so they unclip them to sleep as well. It is heartening to read that the plane survived severe turbulence or an engine blowing up and only 7 people were injured in the former case. Try and see the glass as half full instead of half empty.

      Mike - 2012-01-08 11:38

      The A380 also has a very nice standing area and bar in business class which people obviously tend to congregate around.

  • cliff.slabbert - 2012-01-08 11:21

    Why did the pilot not fly around the storm????

      Dmitri - 2012-01-08 11:51

      The turbulence could have been CAT (Clear air turbulence) which is not picked up on radar. Normal thunder activity is picked up (usually painted red) on the radar depending on the severity. Airbus superjumbo ---Jumbo was a term coined for boeing not the bus For those who dislike QF, SAA, you get good days and bad days in any airline and route. News 24, please up your standard of reporting. For example: Seven passengers were impacted ---With what - debris? when the air pocket hit--- must have been an aggressive air pocket

      Squeegee - 2012-01-08 18:38

      What storm?

      Bouts - 2012-01-08 19:30

      Because you dont know how Avionics and Radar works.... stupid keep doing what you good at, stay away of super high technology !!!

  • nancy.allen9 - 2012-01-08 20:42

    Check the records people - Qantas is the safest airline in the world and has been for quite some time, with such high standards to maintain, do you think they are going to take any risks?

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-08 21:20

    I know of someone who will sue the cat if it causes his drink to spill onto his suit.

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