Reprinted from the avherald.com. By Simon Hradecky.
A United Boeing 747-400, registration N174UA performing flight UA-870 from Sydney, NS (Australia) to San Francisco, CA, was enroute over the Pacific Ocean in Ocean Airspace when the aircraft encountered turbulence causing a serious injury to a flight attendant. The aircraft continued to San Francisco for a safe landing.
The FAA reported without providing further details that one flight attendant received injuries when the aircraft encountered turbulence in Oceanic Airspace.
On Mar 14th 2013 the NTSB reported the aircraft was enroute over the Pacific Ocean when at about 13:30Z turbulence began prompting the crew to illuminate the fasten seat belt sign and instruct flight attendants to be seated as well. The turbulence continued for a long period of time, the captain released the flight attendants from their seats while maintaining the fasten seat belt signs illuminated.
At about 15:00Z, while enroute at FL390 near BALKS intersection, a flight attendant was walking from her bunk to the aft lavatory, but fell receiving a fracture to her wrist. A nurse on board provided first aid for a broken wrist to the flight attendant. The turbulence subsided at about 15:30Z. After landing the flight attendant was taken to a hospital which diagnosed a wrist fracture.
On Dec 15th 2015 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the accident was:
The flight’s encounter with moderate clear air turbulence while en route, which resulted in a serious injury to a flight attendant. Contributing to the accident was the lack of communication equipment in the rest compartment, which, if installed, could have alerted the cabin crewmembers that the seatbelt sign was on.
The NTSB stated, that turbulences lasted for nearly 3 hours and caused vertical accelerations between 0.65G and 1.3G according to the flight data recorder. The NTSB summarized the injured flight attendant’s testimony:
The flight attendant who was injured reported that while on break in the bunk room the airplane had been encountering moderate turbulence for hours. She stated that “the turbulence stopped for a while and was very calm and she thought she “could hear a faint ding from the seatbelt sign.” She further stated that from the crew bunk room they do not hear announcements made over the airplane’s public address system, and that it is not always possible to hear when the seatbelt sign is turned on and off. She stated that she waited in her bunk for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure that it was safe before she climbed down. After climbing down from the bunk, the airplane “dropped and picked her up throwing her 6 to 10 feet” and she landed on her right arm.
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