The Gatwick-bound aircraft with 400 passengers ran into turbulence after the pilots’ study of weather radar returns had led them to alter course to avoid bad weather on their intended route.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch report published today said: “The aircraft started to encounter turbulence and the flight crew switched the cabin seat belt signs on.
“The commander recalled seeing a flash outside, which he thought may have been lightning associated with a thunderstorm cell beneath the aircraft. Suddenly, the turbulence increased markedly and became severe for a while.”
The injured crew member and two of the injured passengers had to be treated in hospital after the aircraft landed safely at Gatwick.
One of the passengers suffered a knee injury and the cabin crew member, who was in the crew rest area at the time, had head and neck injuries.
Most passengers were already seated with their seatbelts fastened and all those who suffered injury were in the rear, right side of the aircraft.
At one point the turbulence was so severe that a member of the cabin crew had difficulty securing herself in her harness.
The incident happened in the early hours of November 14 last year when the aircraft, flying from Montego Bay in Jamaica, was around 300 miles south of St John’s in Newfoundland.
“The flight crew had left the intended track to avoid significant weather which they had detected on weather radar. However, at the time of the incident, there was no significant weather indicated on radar,” the AAIB report said.
*In another incident reported by the AAIB, a cabin crew member was thrown off her feet and was seriously injured when a Flybe Dash 8 suddenly hit severe turbulence on a flight from Birmingham to Belfast City airport.
The crew member was given medical assistance by a doctor who happened to be on board and was transferred to hospital after the aircraft landed in Belfast.
One of the 71 passengers on board suffered a minor injury in the incident over the Isle of Man on the morning of February 7 this year.
Sourced from Travel Weekly