Event Details


Title:Turbulence injury, Boeing 747-422, November 19, 1996
Micro summary:This Boeing 747-422 experienced severe turbulence in cruise, breaking a flight attendant's foot.
Event Time:1996-11-19 at 1750 PST
File Name:1996-11-19-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:LAX97LA051
Pages:5
Site of event:Bishop, CA
Departure:San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo County, California, USA
Destination:McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 737-500
Flight Phase:Cruise
Registration(s):N916UA
Operator(s):United Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Occupants:113
Fatalities:0
Serious Injuries:1
Minor/Non-Injured:112
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

a clear air turbulence encounter.

NTSB synopsis:

A known area of clear air turbulence was encountered at FL290 shortly after the captain turned on the fasten seat belt sign and instructed the cabin crew to take their seats. An aft flight attendant was in the process of closing a door before she sat down when the aircraft experienced severe turbulence and dropped sharply in altitude. The flight attendant broke her right foot during the encounter and was treated at a local hospital after landing. Company procedures for the crew to follow when turbulence is anticipated is for the flight attendants to take their seats after the cockpit crew makes the announcement and turns on the fasten seat belt sign. The captain had been monitoring the flight conditions of other aircraft at various altitudes in the area and, when turbulence was reported ahead of the flight, he made the announcement.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On November 19, 1996, at 1750 hours Pacific standard time, a flight attendant sustained a serious foot injury after encountering some clear air turbulence (CAT) near Bishop, California, during cruise at flight level (FL) 290 on United Flight 2188 from San Francisco, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-500, N916UA, was not damaged, nor were there any injuries to the other 112 persons onboard.

According to the operator, the captain illuminated the fasten seat belt sign and instructed the flight attendants to take their seats. The injured aft flight attendant was in the process of securing a carrier door in the aft galley when the turbulence was encountered. After arriving in Las Vegas, she was taken to a local hospital where it was determined that her right foot was broken. Another flight attendant stated that shortly after the captain made the announcement, the aircraft dropped sharply. He was holding on to something and didn't get hurt.

According to the operator, there were several reports of moderate or greater turbulence throughout central and southern California at flight levels under FL300. A "CAT ALERT" was in effect for the area at the time of the accident with some mention of mountain wave activity east of the Sierra Mountains. This alert was on the Weather Briefing Message (WBM) for Flight 2188. The captain was monitoring the flight conditions of other aircraft in the area and chose the smoother ride at FL290 due to turbulent rides at the higher altitudes. When the captain was advised of turbulent conditions ahead, he made the announcement to the cabin crew to take their seats.

United Airlines procedures for crew action to take when turbulence weather conditions are anticipated are to turn on the Fasten Seat Belt sign and make a PA announcement. This permits the flight attendants to tie down serving carts and stow other loose items before taking their seats. If turbulence is encountered unexpectedly, the fasten seat belt sign will be cycled on and off three or four times and a PA announcement advising the passengers and flight attendants to be seated immediately.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Turbulence
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury
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