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Air stewardess gets spinal injuries due to turbulence in flight

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As the plane hit turbulence, an air stewardess was thrown into the air and ended up with spinal injuries. This incident took place in August last year on a Boeing 737 SAS Scandinavian Airlines flight to Heathrow Airport. According to the report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), the stewardess was making a passenger announcement at the time the incident took place. She was in the crew seat and unrestrained. AAIB also added that the airline had made safety recommendations since then.

The stewardess was thrown into the air due to turbulence and landed back on the seat and as a result of this her back was badly injured. According to the AAIB report, she was in immense pain and had to stay on the galley floor till the flight landed at the airport. Other crew members were not aware of the turbulence announcement

There was another cabin crew member who was thrown into the air at the same time and hit the cabin roof. She was sitting in an empty seat but could not fasten her seatbelt. She remained unhurt.

The stewardess, who suffered from spinal injuries, was hospitalized for 10 days after the unexpected incident that took place on the afternoon of 23rd August.

The AAIB did mention that although the seatbelt sign was on, the cabin crew were unrestrained as they prepared the cabin for landing. At least three out of the four cabin members were not even aware of any public announcement regarding the possibility of there being turbulence, according to the AAIB report. According to the airline’s procedures the cabin crew must be seated with fastened seatbelts when the seatbelt signs were on, added AAIB.

Three similar incidents were identified by an investigation conducted by SAS where cabin crew suffered from injuries due to turbulence. In one such case, two crew members in the forward galley ended up with fractures.