Passengers onboard Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA451, en route from Honolulu to Sydney, experienced a harrowing ordeal as the aircraft encountered severe turbulence halfway through its journey. The unexpected event led to several individuals being hospitalised upon landing at Sydney Airport, marking another unsettling incident for the airline.
The Airbus A330-200, carrying 163 passengers and 12 crew members, departed Honolulu at 12:47 pm on Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in Sydney at 7:58 pm on Friday. Approximately five hours into the flight, powerful winds battered the plane, resulting in a tumultuous and frightening experience for those onboard.
Emergency services were promptly alerted, and upon landing, ambulances and first responders met the aircraft to provide medical assistance. Initially, a doctor onboard attended to four passengers and three flight attendants, with further evaluations conducted by local paramedics. While the exact number of passengers requiring hospitalisation remains unknown, it is believed that the injuries were minor in nature.
Hawaiian Airlines acknowledged the incident and emphasised the importance of passenger and crew well-being. The airline’s spokesperson expressed gratitude for the swift response of Sydney Airport first responders and assured that immediate attention would be given to those affected.
This turbulent incident comes as a disconcerting reminder of a prior mass casualty event involving Hawaiian Airlines. Flight HA35, which occurred in December of the previous year, witnessed extreme clear-air turbulence during its approach to Honolulu. The abrupt altitude drop resulted in multiple injuries, with some passengers colliding with overhead luggage bins and the aircraft ceiling.
Although today’s incident took place earlier in the flight, safety concerns remain prevalent. The presence of illuminated seatbelt signs during the turbulence event is yet to be determined. The aviation industry has continually stressed the importance of passengers keeping their seatbelts fastened throughout flights, considering the unpredictability of such circumstances. Nevertheless, the ability to predict turbulence accurately remains a challenge for airlines, even with advanced technology at their disposal.
Hawaiian Airlines has initiated a thorough inspection of the aircraft involved in the turbulence event. Consequently, the departure of flight HA452 from Sydney to Honolulu might be impacted. However, the airline aims to promptly address the situation and ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members.
This recent incident serves as a reminder of the importance of constant vigilance and adherence to safety protocols during air travel. Passengers are encouraged to remain seated with their seatbelts fastened at all times, even when the skies appear calm. Airlines continue to prioritise passenger well-being and strive to enhance their ability to anticipate and mitigate turbulence risks.