A transatlantic Delta Air Lines flight encountered turbulence so severe that 11 passengers required hospitalization after landing.
Flight DL 175 was flying from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) on August 29, 2023 when the incident occured.
Things were going smoothly for the almost 10-hour flight, until the Airbus A350 aircraft reached its approach to ATL airport.
About 64 kilometers northeast of Atlanta, the four-year old A350 aircraft with registration N576DZ encountered severe turbulence, which resulted in 11 out of the 165 passengers and crew onboard needing to be hospitalized.
Video footage of the incident was captured by a passenger on board the flight, and was uploaded to social media platform TikTok.
The uploader, with the username helloayo, cautioned her followers to always wear seatbelts, saying: “Always wear your seatbelt on the plane!! My flight Delta 175 hit severe turbulence and dropped significantly, sending people including myself flying out of our seats. Several passengers and the majority of flight attendants were injured. We had to make an emergency landing and anyone who wasn’t badly injured had to stay on the plane until a new flight crew came on because you can’t debark without one. One woman flew up so high she hit the overhead compartment and cracked it.”
The video shows injured passengers placing an ice bag on their heads, and others being carried out of the aircraft by paramedics using stretchers.
Delta issued a statement published by a number of US media outlets, saying:
“Delta Care Team members are mobilizing to connect with customers on Delta Flight 175 that experienced severe turbulence before landing safely in Atlanta Tuesday. Our priority is taking care of our customers and crew who sustained injuries. We are grateful for the first responders who met the aircraft to provide medical attention and who are transporting the injured to the hospital.”
Turbulence getting worse
Frequent flyers may want to fasten their seatbelts tighter. A June 2023 study conducted by researchers from the University of Reading in England found that flight turbulence is bound to get stronger due to climate change.
According to the study, warmer air from CO2 emissions is increasing windshear in the jet streams, strengthening clear-air turbulence in the North Atlantic and globally.
“Following a decade of research showing that climate change will increase clear-air turbulence in the future, we now have evidence suggesting that the increase has already begun. We should be investing in improved turbulence forecasting and detection systems, to prevent the rougher air from translating into bumpier flights in the coming decades,” Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading and a professor who co-authored the study said.