Event Details


Title:Turbulence on descent, Airbus A320-231, September 16, 1999
Micro summary:This Airbus A320-231 experienced turbulence while on descent, injuring several passengers.
Event Time:1999-09-16 at 2147 PDT
File Name:1999-09-16-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:LAX99LA323
Pages:5
Site of event:Beatty, NV
Departure:Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, USA
Destination:McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Airplane Type(s):Airbus A320-231
Flight Phase:Descent
Registration(s):N628AW
Operator(s):America West Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Occupants:139
Fatalities:0
Serious Injuries:1
Minor/Non-Injured:138
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

the failure of the injured passengers to remain seated with their seat belts fastened as directed by the captain.

NTSB synopsis:

While descending toward the destination airport, the pilot was deviating around thunderstorms and using his airborne radar to identify severe cells. It was a dark night and he was unable to make visual contact with the severe weather. The captain turned on the seat belt sign 45 minutes before the accident due to 'light chop' that he had encountered earlier in the flight. He made a PA announcement in which he told the passengers to return to their seats and to fasten their seat belts. About 20 minutes prior to the accident, he directed the flight attendants to suspend service and to secure the cabin. Once again, he made a PA announcement advising passengers of the increased chance of turbulence during the remainder of the flight. The aircraft encountered turbulence that lasted a few seconds with one large 'bump' that was accompanied by a sudden altitude gain that lasted a couple of seconds. After the event, flight attendants reported injuries to several passengers. According to the flight attendants, one or more of the injured passengers were out of the seats at the time of the turbulence encounter.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On September 16, 1999, at 2147 hours Pacific daylight time, an America West flight 2569, an Airbus A320-231, N628AW, encountered turbulence while on descent over Beatty, Nevada. The aircraft was not damaged; however, three flight attendants and seven passengers received minor injuries, while one passenger received serious injuries. The aircraft was being operated as a scheduled domestic passenger flight by America West Airlines, Inc., under the provisions 14 CFR Part 121, when the accident occurred. The flight originated in Seattle, Washington, at 1955. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed.

The captain reported that he was at flight level (FL) 250 about 40 miles DME southeast of the Beatty VHF omni-directional radio range (VOR). He had been deviating around thunderstorms while using his airborne radar to identify severe cells. It was a dark night and he had been unable to make visual contact with the severe weather.

The turbulence encounter lasted about 5 seconds with one large "bump" that was accompanied by about a 100-foot altitude gain in less than 2 seconds. After the event, flight attendants reported injuries to several passengers. The captain then contacted the company's Las Vegas flight operations and requested that emergency medical equipment meet the aircraft at the gate.

The captain stated that he had turned on the seat belt sign 45 minutes before the accident due to "light chop" that he had encountered earlier in the flight. He made a public address (PA) announcement in which he told the passengers to return to their seats and to fasten their seat belts. About 20 minutes prior to the accident, he directed the flight attendants to suspend service and to secure the cabin. Finally, he made one last PA announcement advising passengers that there was an increased chance of turbulence during the remainder of their flight.

According to statements from two of the flight attendants, one or more of the injured passengers were out of the seats when the turbulence was encountered.

Emergency medical personnel met the aircraft at the gate, transporting six passengers to area hospitals. The three flight attendants were treated by paramedics at the scene and released. Although they were offered medical attention, two of the eight injured passengers refused medical treatment.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Turbulence
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury
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