Dozens of Individuals Left Injured After Turbulence on Flight

Dozens of Individuals Left Injured After Turbulence on Flight

( – Severe turbulence forced a Europa Airlines flight originating from Madrid, Spain, en route to Montevideo, Uruguay, to seek an emergency landing in Natal, Brazil, early on Monday, July 1. Reports say 40 of the 325 passengers on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner sustained injuries, some serious. The airline grounded the plane for inspection by mechanics.

Passengers’ accounts differ slightly, but some details have formed a picture of the events leading to the injuries. The airline hasn’t released a detailed version. Evangelina Saravia described that several travelers ignored seat belt signs after the plane had traveled through mild turbulence for about 20 minutes. So, when the plane dropped 400 meters (about 1300 ft) in mere seconds, it threw people in the aisles or unbelted in their seats up into the plane’s ceiling panels and luggage bins.

Saravia said, “People were thrown from the seats and hit the ceiling; that’s why the ceiling broke.” Fellow passengers reportedly had to help extract at least two people from ceiling panels, including the 2-year-old child of a surgeon, Dr. Cecilia Laguzzi, who was returning to Uruguay with her husband and two children after an internship in Barcelona, Spain.

Laguzzi helped treat injured travelers and recommended that the pilots try to land sooner in Natal, Brazil, for medical treatment rather than continuing four more hours to Montevideo. While she grouped many of the injuries she saw as traumatic back pain, she said, “but I also saw some fractures — legs, shoulders, collarbone, nose fracture.”

Of the 40 people who first responders treated at the scene, 10 were transported to local hospitals. Four individuals ended up in intensive care units (ICUs) and remained in ICUs as of Tuesday, July 2.

After extending its sincere regrets over the incident and the inconvenience it caused, Europa Airlines scheduled a new plane from Spain to transport healthy passengers from Recife, Brazil, to Montevideo. The airline transported the travelers via bus to Recife, a larger hub, and housed them until the new flight arrived.

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