We’ve all heard it before, when the flight attendants and pilots tell you, “please keep your seat belt fastened, even if the seat belt sign is not on – in case of unexpected turbulence…” There is a reason for it, and a Milan bound flight from Miami experienced that last night about halfway into the flight.
The plane was a Boeing 767 operated by American Airlines, that had departed Miami International Airport late afternoon, a few hours after the meal service the unexpected happened. The aircraft encountered severe turbulence, one passenger saying it felt as though “the aircraft rolled on it’s side.” A total of 7 people were injured, 4 of them passengers and 3 of the flight attendants. Due to the severity of the incident, the pilots made the decision to divert the flight to the nearest airport but being in the middle of the Atlantic, that was St. John’s Airport in Newfoundland, Canada – and it was over an hour away.
The flight landed in Canada about 6 hours after departing from Miami where emergency medical personnel met the aircraft and transported the injured to local area hospitals. Due to the restrictions set by the FAA for crewmembers needed to work the flight as well as crew rest requirements, the flight can not continue without additional crew. American has released a statement that they are actively working to take care of the passengers and crew from the diverted flight.
Lesson learned, even if you plan on sleeping on an all night flight, keep your seat belt fastened – even if the seat belt sign isn’t illuminated.