HONOLULU (AP) — A cloud rose vertically like a plume of smoke seconds before a Hawaiian Airlines flight last month hit severe turbulence and injured 25 people on board, a preliminary report says. Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The captain of the Dec. 18 flight from Phoenix to Honolulu told investigators that flight conditions were smooth with clear skies when the cloud lifted in front of the plane and there was no weather. to change course, according to the report. He called the chief stewardess and told her there might be some turbulence. Within one to three seconds, the aircraft “encountered severe turbulence,” the report said.
Shortly after, the chief stewardess told the crew that there were several injuries in the cabin.
Twenty-five of the 291 passengers and crew on board were injured, with four passengers and two crew seriously injured, the report said. The aircraft sustained minor damage.
Tiffany Reyes, one of the passengers who was taken to hospital, said the next day that she had just returned to her seat from the bathroom and was about to buckle her seat belt when the flight dived.
In an instant, Reyes said she found herself on the driveway floor, staring at the collapsed ceiling panels and a cracked bathroom sign hanging down.
“I asked everyone around me, ‘Was that me?’ Reyes said. “They said I apparently flew into the ceiling and hit the floor.”
Reyes said she initially thought something had hit the plane and it crashed, and she briefly thought they were going to die because she had never encountered anything so violent during a flight.
“It’s the most terrifying experience I’ve had in my 40 years of life,” Reyes said.
Hawaiian airlines Chief operating officer Jon Snook said at the time such turbulence was unusual, noting the airline had not experienced anything like it in recent history. The seat belt sign was on at the time, although some of the injured were not wearing them, he said.
It happened about 40 minutes before landing in Honolulu, according to the report.
The report includes factual information but not probable cause. This is usually included in the final report, which may take a year or two.
A spokesperson for the airline declined to comment on the report on Friday as the NTSB investigation is ongoing.