7 Injured On American Flight Due To Severe Turbulence

Filed Under: American

This is a good reminder to keep those seatbelts fastened. At least once a week we hear about a flight which hits severe turbulence and causes injuries, even when it happens while the seatbelt sign is illuminated. And I’m sure it happens much more often than that, but most of the stories just don’t make it to the US media.

Last night’s American Airlines flight from Miami to Milan diverted to St. John’s, Newfoundland, after it encountered severe turbulence. The flight was operated by a Boeing 767-300, carrying 192 passengers and 11 crew members.

American Airlines 767-300

Per the Associated Press, a total of seven passengers were taken to the hospital in St. John’s, including three flight attendants and four passengers, though none of the injuries are life threatening.

The plane stayed in St. John’s overnight, and it looks like it’s scheduled to fly to Milan tonight, presumably with a new crew.


While I haven’t yet seen any video of the turbulence from onboard the flight (which I’m sure we’ll see soon, given that everyone has a smartphone nowadays), severe turbulence can be really scary. In late 2014 we saw footage of severe turbulence on an American Airlines flight from Seoul Incheon to Dallas, which caused the flight to divert to Tokyo.


While turbulence as such doesn’t usually a pose a threat to the safety of a flight, it can be one of the scariest things to deal with, since you’re very aware of what’s going on. Meanwhile the things which truly pose a risk to a flight we’re often woefully unaware of as passengers.

Bottom line

This is a good reminder to keep your seatbelt fastened whenever seated, even if the seatbelt sign isn’t on. I’ve never dealt with turbulence quite this bad, though did encounter some of the worst turbulence of my life a few weeks ago, when flying Air New Zealand from Auckland to Queenstown. While the turbulence didn’t scare me, it was physically uncomfortable, and it clearly scared some others (based on the amount of screaming in the cabin).


What’s the worst turbulence you’ve ever encountered?

  1. jesus people need to grow some balls, women LOVE to scream… what is the point of the screaming? If I was going down I would prefer to do so in peace and quiet this screaming is nonsensical and irritating…

    But i laugh on roller coasters so… that’s me… but cmon why make noise and create more anxiety…..stfu…

  2. I don’t think the people screaming are trying to accomplish anything, so asking about the point of it is… pointless.

  3. Harsh turbulence departing SAEZ last year on board TK inbound to IST. Just three or four minutes after departing EZE in a nasty thunderstorm, I ended up hitting the bulkhead, and several passengers flew out of their seats. I actually made a dimple in the bulkhead with my elbow (got a nice picture as souvenir). A Brazilian big guy (over 150k) flew from his middle seat of the center row and ended up in the ally. Also cabin crew went bananas crying and praying. You would expect better from them. I had to yell at passengers to seat down and bucke up. It all took less than a couple of minutes, but I thought it was “showtime” for us.

  4. I’d note that AA routed that flight right into the jet stream that delivered that huge storm to the east coast. I can’t say what is safe or prudent, but given the intensity of that storm and turbulence plot maps for the flight time showing that to be an area of intense turbulence risk, I’d question what the airline’s dispatchers were thinking.

  5. Ben.L I am not being tough I am stating facts I have been in many similar situations you will not find me screaming….I find that reaction to be quite pointless unless a cockroach comes running at me I might yelp but non insect situations .. situations of real peril you will not find me making a sound….

  6. I probably haven’t flown as much as others but I’m no stranger to flying, but /this/ was a particular kind of turbulence I had never experienced.

    Took the family to Ireland 2 years back in December leaving from LHR on Aer Lingus. The flight there was mostly fine up until a few minutes before landing. It got /very/ rough with several “big” drops on the approach. It was very foggy, couldn’t see anything until the ground was just feet below us; Then I notced we were at an angle and I had flashbacks of all those crazy landings (or aborted landings) on YouTube.

    Seconds before we’re landing, the pilot “floors it” and I think to myself “Shoot we aborted and we’re coming back around for another hellish landing.” Nope! He straightens the plane and we land, albeit roughly.

    The flight attendant gets on the PA, welcomes us to Ireland, gives the local time and pauses leaving the PA on and you hear what is very clearly a sigh of relief. Everyone bursts into laughter, applauding both her candidness and the safe landing no doubt.

    Can’t wait to go back!

  7. Lucky, it does indeed seem like more and more turbulence stories are making the news. Do you think there is actually an increase in occurrences or do you think it’s just the media publicizing it more?

  8. Worst single moment turbulence was flying ANZ from New Plymouth to Auckland on the descent (plane was a Beechcraft 1900). There was some seriously rough air that caused some major drops. The following flight, from AKL to SFO, was overall worse, since the turbulence lasted for about four hours. We heard flight attendants talking about how it was the worst they’d ever experienced.

  9. Probably the worst turbulence I ever encountered was last month from Nagoya, Japan to Honolulu onboard a JAL 777-200ER. It started probably an hour or so after take-off and just got hammered all the way down till about 3 hour or so before we reached Honolulu so basically the length of the entire flight.

  10. Coming into White Plains, NY on a CRJ led to the plane coming in at an angle and each side of the plane touching down and bouncing repeatedly. I thought the wing would snap off.

  11. I’ve had a couple of experiences…

    One was on a DL flight, CVG-SLC. Flight attendants were seated for more than an hour.

    Worst was on a QF 747-200M, SYD-PPT. This was about 30 years ago, but I’ll never forget one of the flight attendants being taken off the plane by medics in PPT. The turbulence was officially only moderate (most turbulence encountered is officially called mild, these incidents are usually moderate), but it was classic clear air turbulence and hit during a meal service. It was, as you’d imagine, a mess.

  12. In high school (~1997), flew from LA to Baltimore (can’t remember carrier) with turbulence the entire 5 hour flight! Meals were never served. My group was seated in the back too, which was horrible because it sounded like the plane was constantly diving down. For sure thought we were all gonna die. But since we didn’t, turbulence doesn’t phase me anymore!

  13. Had a few rough bouts of turbulence in which cabin crew had to belt up (I’m assuming this is a sign that it was fairly bad).

    I wouldn’t use the media as a source for the frequency of turbulence though. I would imagine there are more aeroplane in the sky than ever before so the chances of one of them making hitting bad turbulence is naturally going to be greater than before.

  14. Worst turbulence ever for me was a UA SYD-LAX flight a number of years back. Plane was bouncing, banking, rocking, women shrieking, a few people fell in the aisle, food and drink tossed around, but the worst part was the flight attendants– I always take a look at them in bad turbulence or when there are unexpected loud noises/etc. and I’ve never seen anything like their reactions on this flight– one female attendant was crying and a male one was hugging himself and rocking back and forth while strapped in– this made me very nervous– like they knew something I didn’t, but all was fine. Still scary as hell for 10-15 minutes.

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