Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Turbulence incident seriously injures Mesa flight attendant

Mesa Air Group logoA Mesa Airlines flight attendant was severely injured last month when the flight on which she was working encountered serious turbulence over Colorado. She was knocked unconscious, and suffered spinal injuries that required surgery.

The incident happened on the morning of February 3, 2008 aboard a DeHavilland DHC-8-202 (Dash-8) turboprop aircraft. The aircraft, operated by Mesa Airlines as Air Shuttle Flight ASH 7106, was approaching Denver on a scheduled flight from Casper, WY when it encountered "serious turbulence."

According to a preliminary report about the incident issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

... the flight was descending on the RAMMS 5 STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) and was encountering "light chop." Approximately 5 miles inside RAMMS intersection, as it was descending from 14,000 feet to 13,000 feet, the flight encountered severe turbulence.

The captain called the flight attendant on the intercom, but she did not answer. An emergency medical technician (EMT), who was a passenger on the flight, answered and reported the flight attendant was lying on the floor unconscious.

The EMT and an off-duty United flight attendant tended to the injured flight attendant. The captain declared an emergency and the airplane landed at DEN. The flight attendant was transported to a hospital where she underwent surgery for several fractured vertebrae. [NTSB ID:DEN08LA055]
The NTSB notes that the captain suffered "minor injuries" in the same incident, however there were no injuries to the first officer and 19 passengers aboard the flight.

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