HONOLULU (KHON2) — Buckle up — that’s the message those in the flight industry have for passengers after dozens were injured when a flight bound for Hawaii was hit by sudden turbulence.
It was a terrifying experience. Sudden turbulence rocked Hawaiian Airlines flight 35 Sunday, Dec. 18, shortly before landing, injuring 36 passengers with 11 taken to the hospital in serious condition.
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A flight attendant, who asked to remain anonymous, said turbulence can be unpredictable.
“It’s unforeseeable, these things,” she said. “The floor just gives out under you, and you go all the way up to the ceiling. That’s the roughest turbulence. So if you don’t have your seatbelt on, it can be very, very dangerous. A lot of people have serious neck injuries, back injuries from these kinds of incidents.”
She said that is why it is important to buckle up during your flight.
In a statement the Association of Flight Attendants representing Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendants said:
“Airplanes have seat belts for a reason. Keep your seatbelt on at all times – not just when the seatbelt sign is on. Turbulence is a serious threat in the air, and it cannot always be predicted. It is one of the highest causes of serious on-the-job injury to flight attendants. The forces created in sudden clear air turbulence, and those created by storms, can throw bodies and unsecured items forcefully through the cabin much like the impact of a high speed collision. If you are not strapped in and secure, it could be deadly.
“Getting up when the seatbelt sign is on is not only dangerous for you but also for the people you could injure when turbulence hits. Always follow crew instructions.”
The FAA requires flight crews to perform a pre flight safety briefing before take off.
Some wish passengers would take them more seriously.
“I think people feel like oh, I’ve heard it, they say it all the time, ‘Stow your luggage,’ you know , you don’t hear it after a while,” the flight attendant said.
“But if you can just remember to just stay in your seat with your seatbelt on, keep all your belongings in a safe place, I think it’ll be be a much safer flight,” she added.
She said stowing everything securely below the seat, putting water bottles in the seat pocket in front of you can prevent those items from turning into projectiles in the event the flight hits turbulence.
“Always remember that we’re a little speck in the sky, and a little change of altitude will definitely affect us in a big way,” she explained. “So, I think it’s just a great reminder to be extra cautious at all times.”
One of the passengers injured Sunday was a 14-month-old baby.
The flight attendant said parents with little ones should try to keep them seated; they shouldn’t be running down the aisles.
“If there’s a way to try to get them to be more relaxed, sleeping, it’ll be really helpful and much better for everyone’s safety all around.”
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She also suggested women keep their purse attached to them. Don’t just leave it on the seat because that could also hurt someone in the event of turbulence.