Severe weather in Texas caused American Airlines Flight 5781 to make an emergency landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport due to severe turbulence that injured two people and sent them to the hospital. KVUE and KEYE turned to Michael Slack to discuss what exactly turbulence is and what it takes for a pilot to divert a flight.
According to Slack, when turbulence causes an injury it is up to the pilot to keep flying or work with air traffic control to land quickly. Oftentimes, turbulence is unexpected. “Passengers will be tossed about particularly if they’re not belted or restrained, flight attendants who are on their feet are at risk of serious injury,” said Slack.
The Federal Aviation Administration recorded 44 injuries due to turbulence in 2016, but recorded only 17 injuries in 2017. Slack points out that many passengers do not report their injuries. “There will not be a sweep of those passenger cases to update those statistics. In the turbulence realm, I would say that the data is particularly unreliable.”
To ensure safety, Slack suggests passengers follow safety measures and stay in their seat with a fastened lap belt.