Event Details


Title:Turbulence injury, Boeing 737-522, November 25, 1995
Micro summary:A flight attendant was seriously injured in turbulence on this Boeing 737-522 as the airplane was descending.
Event Time:1995-11-25 at 1523 PST
File Name:1995-11-25-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:SEA96LA026
Pages:5
Site of event:Portland, OR
Departure:San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo County, California, USA
Destination:Portland International Airport, Portland, Oregon, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 737-522
Flight Phase:Descent
Registration(s):N953UA
Operator(s):United Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Occupants:112
Fatalities:0
Serious Injuries:1
Minor/Non-Injured:111
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

An unexpected encounter with unforecast moderate high level windshear and turbulence as the flight attendant was performing his duties during descent.

NTSB synopsis:

The captain reported that at the beginning of the descent for landing he turned on the seatbelt sign and informed the cabin crew to secure the cabin early because of suspected turbulence. He did not urge the flight attendants to be seated immediately, because none of the weather information he received at the time indicated anything other than the possibility of light turbulence. About 15 minutes later, while descending through flight level 200, the airplane briefly encountered what the captain described as moderate turbulence. One of the flight attendants was still securing the cabin at the time and fell backwards onto a stove in the galley, sustaining a fractured shoulder. Weather information received after the accident revealed that moderate turbulence or significant weather reports were not forecast for the altitude of occurrence by the national weather service.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On November 25, 1995, at 1523 hours Pacific standard time, N953UA, a Boeing 737-522, operated as United Airlines Flight 2026, encountered turbulence while descending for landing at the Portland International Airport, Portland, Oregon. A cabin crew member was seriously injured during the encounter. The other four crew members and 107 passengers were not injured. The airplane was not damaged. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed. The flight departed San Francisco, California, at 1409 and was en route to Portland. The flight was operated under 14 CFR 121.

In a written statement, the captain reported that at the beginning of the descent from 28,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), he turned on the seatbelt sign and informed the cabin crew "... that there might be some chop in [descent] and to put things away early." The captain reported that the airplane then encountered "moderate turbulence lasting approximately 15 [seconds]." The captain immediately informed the flight attendants to be seated.

While securing the cabin at the time of the turbulent encounter, one of the flight attendants fell backwards onto a stove in the galley and fractured his scapula. Another flight attendant, who was in the aisle, reported that she grabbed the back of a passenger seat and immediately sat down on the aisle. Nearby passengers held onto the flight attendant so that she would not be thrown around.

The captain further stated that "no [turbulence was] reported other than [light] chop" prior to the accident. No evidence was found from either the captain's statement or flight attendants' statements to indicate that the captain urged the flight attendants to immediately take their seats prior to the turbulent encounter.

According to documentation provided by United Airlines personnel, other aircraft reported, via the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), that during the climb and descent phase, there was significant wind shears between 20,000 feet msl to 28,000 feet msl near the time of the accident. The National Weather Service high level significant weather chart forecasted moderate turbulence between 30,000 feet msl to 37,000 feet msl over Oregon.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Turbulence
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury
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