Media Reports of Continental Flight 128: Severe Turbulence

Ok, as I have said over and over again here, turbulence is not dangerous as long as you are following the guidelines and have your seatbelt fastened.

Media reports – once again – are misleading. It is amazing to see the level to which they twist words and headlines to make the event seem more dramatic than it was.

Continental Flight 128 hit severe turbulence which has – unfortunately – caused some injuries. The reports state 26 injured passengers, although this figure will (undoubtedly) include those with minor bruises.

The important point to consider here is; why were these passengers’ not wearing seatbelts?

There are reports that state the seatbelt sign was illuminated when the plane entered the turbulence, in which case the injured passengers only have themselves to blame. The seatbelt signs are switched on for a reason – please remember that. You should not have to be told by the crew to put them on – it is your responsibility.

Headlines that read ‘Plane hits severe turbulence forcing it to divert to Miami’ are not helpful. It implies that the plane was in danger of (or already) damaged and that the safety of the aircraft was compromised. This is not true, the diversion was necessary due to the injuries sustained. Also, pictures seem to show the oxygen masks had dropped, which can happen during more severe turbulence (and hard landings). Engineers would be required to re-stow the masks before the continuation of the flight.

It is almost unbelievable that this has made worldwide news. Turbulence of this severity is rare (or at least flying through it is), but it does happen occasionally. At no point was the aircraft in danger and those passengers who were wearing seatbelts would not have sustained any serious injury. As you can see from pictures of the aircraft on the ground in Miami, there is absolutely ZERO damage to the aircraft.

Severe turbulence is often reported as being jolted around and dropping tens of feet. NOT TRUE. Even in the most severe turbulence, the aircraft barely moves a few inches in either direction. If you were flying alongside the Continental flight, you wouldn’t even notice anything out of the ordinary.

I say again; turbulence is not dangerous unless you refuse to fasten your seatbelt or are attempting to drink a hot cup of coffee.



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