Virgin Atlantic A346 over Black Sea on Aug 21st 2019, turbulence injures passenger
Last Update: February 14, 2020 / 17:38:54 GMT/Zulu time
On Sep 12th 2019 the UK AAIB reported the passenger was standing in the galley and received a complex fracture of the ankle. The AAIB opened an investigation.
On Feb 13th 2020 the AAIB released their bulletin with following analysis:
The aircraft encountered turbulence over northern Turkey during which a passenger was seriously injured. The turbulence was caused by a rapid wind shift.
There was no information available to the flight crew, either in the pre-flight paperwork, from the weather radar or visually to forewarn the flight crew that they were approaching an area of turbulence. Therefore, the seatbelt signs were off when they encountered the turbulence.
The AAIB summarized the injured passenger's report:
The injured passenger reported that he was waiting to use the toilet in the rear galley when the turbulence occurred. The seatbelt signs were off, and he recalled that he suddenly found himself lying on the floor not knowing what had happened. His right ankle was extremely painful and swelled up within a few seconds. A cabin crew member tried to get him to move back to his seat, but he was unable to get up. His wife and son helped him back to his seat and the cabin crew brought him an ice pack. Later the crew moved him to a seat with more space and gave him painkillers. However, his ankle continued to be extremely painful. After landing he was taken to hospital, where it was found that his ankle was dislocated and broken in two places.
The AAIB reported: "One cabin crew member reported that he injured his shoulder when he fell against a bulkhead during the turbulence, but no medical treatment was required."
The AAIB summarized the captain's testimony:
The commander reported that as they approached waypoint OLUPO (Figure 1) he saw a single “non-threatening” cloud on their track which was not showing on the aircraft’s weather radar. There were cumulonimbus clouds on the horizon but no other clouds in their immediate vicinity. The aircraft was then cleared from OLUPO direct to waypoint ODERO on the Turkey/Bulgaria border, which took the aircraft clear of the single cloud. However, as the aircraft passed abeam the cloud, they encountered moderate to severe turbulence. The co-pilot saw the speed trend arrow indicating +40 kt and the speed increasing rapidly. To prevent an overspeed he selected a lower Mach number and extended the speed brakes.
The commander turned the seatbelt signs on. The commander recalled seeing the wind shifting from a 40 kt tailwind to a 20 kt headwind in 2-3 seconds. The worst of the turbulence lasted for approximately 5 seconds. The aircraft was then subject to light turbulence until able to climb to FL380 at 1237 hrs.
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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