Hawaiian A332 near Honolulu on Dec 18th 2022, turbulence injures 42

Last Update: January 14, 2023 / 16:50:44 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 18, 2022


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A330-200

ICAO Type Designator

A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200, registration N393HA performing flight HA-35 from Phoenix,AZ to Honolulu,HI (USA) with 281 passengers and 10 crew, was descending towards Honolulu when the aircraft encountered turbulence causing 36 injuries and damage to the aircraft cabin. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on Honolulu's runway 04R. 38 passengers and 4 flight attendants sustained injuries, 25 of them were taken to hospitals, 6 of them were diagnosed with serious injuries.

36 people reported being injured, 20 of them were taken to hospitals, 11 of them were diagnosed with serious injuries.

The airline reported the aircraft encountered severe turbulence but landed safely. Medical care was provided to several guests and 3 crew members for minor injuries, some of them were swiftly transported to hospitals. The passenger seat belts signs were on at the time of the clear air turbulence encounter, that occurred about 30 minutes before landing. There was a patch of unstable air that caught the flight crew by surprise without any prior warning.

National Weather Service in Hawaii said, there was a weather advisory posted for thunderstorms at the time of the turbulence, the flight possibly went into a thunderstorm.

Passengers reported a number of passengers were not buckled up and were lifted out of their seats and hit the cabin ceiling.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Honolulu about 10 hours after landing.

On Dec 20th 2022 the FAA reported 38 passengers and 4 cabin crew received minor injuries when the aircraft encountered severe turbulence.

On Jan 6th 2023 the NTSB reported there were 4 people with serious injuries and 38 people with minor injuries, the occurrence was rated an accident and is being investigated by the NTSB.

On Jan 14th 2023 the NTSB released their preliminary report summarizing the sequence of events:

On December 18, 2022, about 10:07am HST (20:07 UTC), Hawaiian Airlines flight 35, an Airbus A330-200, N393HA, experienced severe convectively induced turbulence at flight level (FL) 400, about 65 nm NNE of Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, about 40 minutes from landing at Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, Hawaii. Of the 291 passengers and crew, there were 25 injuries, of which 6 were serious. The airplane received minor damage. The regularly scheduled domestic passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 from Phoenix, Arizona (KPHX).

The first officer was the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot monitoring. The captain stated that they were in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) at FL400 and were above a cirrostratus cloud layer that was about 37,000 to 38,000 feet. He stated that flight conditions were smooth with clear skies above the cirrostratus layer and the on-board weather radar was on and set to “ALL” with no returns displayed on radar. A cloud shot up vertically (like a smoke plume) in front of the airplane in a matter of seconds, and there was not enough time to deviate. He called the lead flight attendant to advise her that they may have turbulence. Within about 1 to 3 seconds, he said the airplane encountered severe turbulence. Shortly after the turbulence-related upset, the lead flight attendant informed the flight crew that there were multiple injuries in the cabin.

Postaccident examination of the weather in the area revealed that there was an occluded frontal system with an associated upper-level trough moving towards the Hawaiian Islands. Satellite and weather radar imagery, and lightning data depicted strong cells in the vicinity of the flight. The U.S National Weather Service (NWS) had issued current Significant Meteorological (SIGMET) warning for embedded thunderstorms with tops reaching FL380 over the region. There were no pilot reports of severe turbulence along the route prior to the accident.
Aircraft Registration Data
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ICAO Aircraft Type
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 18, 2022


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A330-200

ICAO Type Designator

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