36 people were hurt, with 11 sustaining serious injuries, after a Hawaiian Airlines flight encountered severe turbulence 30 minutes prior to landing.
Flight HA 35 was flying to Honolulu’s Inouye International Airport (HNL) from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) on December 18, 2022 when the incident took place. The flight, which was operated by the airline’s Airbus A330, was carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members.
The flight landed safely at HNL airport at 10:50 local time, and medical care was immediately provided at the scene for passengers and crew members.
Those hurt were treated for various injuries, including serious head injuries, cuts, bruises, nausea, and loss of consciousness.
Video footage of what appeared to be the aftermath of the turbulence was uploaded to Twitter, showing a flight attendant and some dazed passengers with serious head injuries.
Hawaiian Air executive vice president and chief operating officer Jon Snook, told local media Hawaii News Now that the “fasten seatbelt” was on at the time of the incident. Snook added that three flight attendants were among those injured.
“Sometimes, these air pockets occur with no warning. It’s rare to have that level of extreme turbulence. It was a very extreme case of mid-air turbulence,” Snook said.
Snook added: “We’re very thankful the extent of the injuries was not critical. It could have been worse.”
Hawaiian Airlines issued a statement on Twitter confirming the incident, and also gave assurance that it will continue to support guests and employees who sustained injuries on the flight.