03 August 2009
Continental Airlines Flight 128, a 767 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Houston, diverted to Miami after apparently experiencing a turbulence event. Unrestrained light attendants and passengers were thrown against the ceiling and into the overhead compartments. One woman reportedly hit a luggage bin so hard that her head stuck there. After landing, 14 people were taken to Miami-area hospitals and were treated for their injuries; four were in serious condition.
This is the fourth safety related event in the last 12 months for Continental. In December 2008, Continental Flight 1404 crashed in on takeoff in Denver and was destroyed by fire. None of the passengers or crew were seriously injured. In February 2009, Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo during approach, killing all 49 passengers and crew members, as well as one person on the ground. In June of this year a Continental 777 captain died during a transatlantic flight en route from Brussels to Newark.
In its annual safety review released by the NTSB in March 2009 indicated that turbulence was associated with 22 percent of all U.S. airline accidents and 49 percent of serious injury accidents between 1996 and 2005.
While this is suspected to be a turbulence event, further investigation may reveal the ultimate cause of this event. For example, last year, a Qantas A330 was involved in what was first thought to be a turbulence event, but the Australian authorities found that it was not the case.
Plane Crashes and Significant Events for Continental
Plane Crashes and Significant Events for the 767
Fatal Turbulence Events Since 1980
Turbulence Resources for Passengers