Iberia A320 at Barcelona on Aug 12th 2020, turbulence injures a flight attendant

Last Update: March 11, 2021 / 14:35:24 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 12, 2020

Classification
Accident

Airline
Iberia

Flight number
IB-1130

Departure
Madrid, Spain

Destination
Barcelona, Spain

Aircraft Registration
EC-IEF

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

Airport ICAO Code
LEBL

An Iberia Airbus A320-200, registration EC-IEF performing flight IB-1130 from Madrid,SP to Barcelona,SP (Spain) with 105 passengers and 6 crew, was on approach to Barcelona when the aircraft encountered turbulence. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on runway 02. One flight attendant received serious injuries as result of the turbulence.

On Sep 11th 2020 Spain's CIAIAC reported a passenger received two broken ribs as result of the turbulence on approach to Barcelona. The occurrence was rated an accident and is being investigated.

On Sep 17th 2020 the CIAIAC corrected their earlier statement now saying a flight attendant suffered the serious injuries when he/she struck a galley counter as result of the aircraft crossing through a zone of turbulence. At that time the flight attendants were securing the cabin during the initial descent towards Barcelona.

On Mar 11th 2021 Spain's CIAIAC released their final report in Spanish only (Editorial note: to serve the purpose of global prevention of the repeat of causes leading to an occurrence an additional timely release of all occurrence reports in the only world spanning aviation language English would be necessary, a Spanish only release does not achieve this purpose as set by ICAO annex 13 and just forces many aviators to waste much more time and effort each in trying to understand the circumstances leading to the occurrence. Aviators operating internationally are required to read/speak English besides their local language, investigators need to be able to read/write/speak English to communicate with their counterparts all around the globe).

The report concludes the probable cause of the accident was:

The aircraft flew through an area of turbulence which was not detected during the approach to Barcelona.

The CIAIAC reported the aircraft had been enroute at FL260 and was proceeding towards CASPE waypoint. The crew requested to descend and was cleared to descend to FL200. Close to the CASPE the crew requested to deviate around two cloud formations ahead, subsequently was cleared to proceed to TOTKI via the CASPE 2N standard arrival route (STAR) and to descend to FL130. The flight crew issued "Cabin Crew: Secure Cabin for Landing", cabin crew began to secure the cabin for arrival. During the descent the fasten seat belt signs were illuminated. About a minute after the fasten seat belt signs were turned on and while the aircraft was descending through about FL160 the aircraft encountered clear air severe turbulence for about 15 seconds resulting in up to +2.15G vertical acceleration. The flight attendants in the aft galley fell to the floor, one of them hit the galley's countertop and received injuries. The aircraft continued for a landing without further incident.

The flight attendant was relieved from duties for the return flight, returned to Madrid as passenger and was taken to a hospital in Madrid, where serious injuries were diagnosed.

Convective activity had been observed over the Mediterranean by radar images and lightning recordings. Associated SIGMETs, also associated with jet streams, had been issued reporting the tops of the convective activity between FL360 and FL420. Five piot reports of turbulence at about 10,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea had been received by ATC prior to the accident. However, no SIGMET had been issued for the accident area, local observations did not observe any areas of turbulence, too. A review of the available data showed however, that the weather situation was in favour of forming cumulonimbus clouds which would be in favour of turbulence although there was no observation of turbulence prior to the accident.

The CIAIAC analysed that weather charts used for the dispatch of the flight indicated the presence of cumulonimbus clouds near Barcelona airport ranging from FL100 to FL420. Such clouds would also mean the presence of turbulence. However, for the actual area the aircraft encountered the accident in there was no SIGMET and no observation of turbulence or cumulonimbus. Neither METARs, TAFOR not ATIS thus indicated the presence of turbulence in the accident area.

As the aircraft was operating in clear air, the crew did not switch their weather radar to detect turbulence knowing that the weather radar would be unable to detect turbulence in clear air. The lack of any reports of turbulence by pilots, ATC, ATIS, METARs also did not warn the crew.

The flight crew had requested to deviate around cloud formations, after the deviation flew direct to TOTKI to rejoin the STAR navigating visually when the aircraft encountered +2.15G.

Metars:
LEBL 121200Z 09013KT 060V120 9999 FEW025 30/23 Q1012 NOSIG=
LEBL 121130Z 07013KT 040V110 9999 FEW025 30/22 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 121100Z 07010KT 9999 FEW025 31/22 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 121030Z 07008KT 040V110 9999 FEW025 30/22 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 121000Z 07008KT 040V110 9999 FEW025 30/22 Q1014 NOSIG=
LEBL 120930Z 06008KT 030V090 9999 FEW020 29/22 Q1014 NOSIG=
LEBL 120900Z 04009KT 9999 FEW015 29/23 Q1014 NOSIG=
LEBL 120830Z 04011KT 9999 FEW015 28/23 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 120800Z 05012KT 9999 FEW015 28/23 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 120730Z 06010KT 9999 FEW015 28/23 Q1013 NOSIG=
LEBL 120700Z 05009KT 9000 FEW015 27/23 Q1013 NOSIG=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 12, 2020

Classification
Accident

Airline
Iberia

Flight number
IB-1130

Departure
Madrid, Spain

Destination
Barcelona, Spain

Aircraft Registration
EC-IEF

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

Airport ICAO Code
LEBL

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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