Seventeen passengers and three crewmembers aboard a South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong have been injured after encountering severe turbulence, with three of them seriously hurt.
Flight SA286 departed Johannesburg on Tuesday at 17:11 and experienced the severe turbulence while flying over Kuala Lumpur airspace. The aircraft landed safely in Hong Kong at 6:30 (SA time) this morning. The seriously injured were taken to the Prince Margaret Hospital and the North Lantau Hospital. Some passengers have received medical attention and have been discharged, SAA said in a statement. SAA staff accompanied passengers to the hospitals.
Crew members who were not injured have been transported back to their hotel. SAA’s town office, with SAA’s handling agent in Hong Kong is also assisting passengers.
There were 165 people, plus one infant, aboard the Airbus A340-300 aircraft.
SAA said the interior panels of the aircraft were damaged and the aircraft is being repaired. Some of the damage was caused by people as well as baggage and other objects being hurled about.
Violent turbulence is not uncommon – in February this year a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 flying between San Francisco and Japan experienced turbulence that injured 11 people, some of whom had to be rushed to hospital.