Severe Turbulence Bounces Passenger Into Overhead Compartment, Sends 23 To The Hospital

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Turbulence is getting worse, and the latest incident of severe “rough air” landed 36 people in the hospital and even bounced one passenger above the overhead luggage space. An Air Europa flight from Spain to Uruguay encountered extreme turbulence, and it left several folks with neck and skull fractures.

Flight UX045 was forced to make an emergency landing in the early morning hours of July 1 in Natal, Brazil after experiencing over four hours of turbulence following its departure from Madrid, according to the New York Times. Some of the passengers hit their heads during the turbulence – resulting in head, neck and chest injuries. In total, 36 passengers were treated for their injuries and 23 were taken to the hospital. Some of the passengers who received treatment were suffering from shock but didn’t have any physical injuries. By the evening of July 1, five passengers were still hospitalized and four of them were in the intensive care unit.

Here’s what the scene on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was like, according to the New York Times:


Passengers described a frightening scene on the Boeing 787 jet, with some people flying through the cabin. Two women told the news channel Telemundo that at least one passenger flew out of his seat and became embedded in the plane’s ceiling area.

Two videos posted on social media appeared to show a man lying in an area near or above the plane’s overhead bins and then being helped down by two other passengers. Other photos and videos showed broken ceiling panels and seats.

“A person was left hanging between the plastic ceiling and the metal roof behind it, and they had to be brought down,” Evangelina Saravia, a passenger from Uruguay, told Telemundo. “The same thing happened to a baby.”

This is what the woman who was seated next to the man wedged in the plane’s ceiling said she saw when she spoke with Telemundo:

“He flew and got stuck in the roof, in the bin — we couldn’t find him. [P]eople fell on top of seats, on top of other people.”

Another passenger told Telemundo that the plane fell about 400 meters at 1,000 kilometers per hour. That works out to falling about 1,312 feet at over 620 mph. That’s serious stuff right there.

In an interview with Telemundo, [a passenger] told from Natal how the episode was: “They announced that there was turbulence, you had to put on your seatbelt, but for about 20 minutes that held up and the turbulence was minimal. Then at one point people started to relax. There were people walking, people without seatbelts. There were children sleeping without seatbelts. After 20 minutes of that minimal turbulence, it was like we entered an air well, we fell about 400 meters, according to what they told me, at 1,000 kilometers per hour. The problem and what you see in the videos is that people were thrown out of their seats and hit the roof, that’s why the roof broke.”


Along those lines, Evangelina stressed that what happened was “very sudden” and that “nobody expected it.” “After the fall, which lasted four to six seconds, I didn’t feel scared because I didn’t understand what was happening, nobody understood what was happening, it was free fall, then the plane stabilized. Only then did people begin to understand what was happening,” she said.

Passengers also described a fear that the children on board would be the most hurt because they could more easily slip out of their seatbelts. They also described “the smell of blood” onboard because of how severely some folks had been injured.

Now, the Consulate of Uruguay in Brasilia is gathering information on just what happened.

This incident comes just a little over a month after a passenger was killed during severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight that also left over 30 other passengers hospitalized.

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