Several passengers and crew members of a Cathay Pacific flight bound for Hong Kong were injured when the aircraft experienced extreme turbulence as it flew over Japan on Tuesday. Two members of the cabin crew and six passengers were hospitalized after it passed through difficult weather conditions over the northern part of the country. One passenger described the experience as “more intense than a rollercoaster.”
The Boeing 747-400 was six hours away from its destination in Hong Kong from San Francisco and was hit by the turbulence as it flew past the prefecture of Hokkaido. All 321 passengers and 21 crew aboard the plane lurched with the movement. A passenger said the plane “was jolted for at least two minutes” causing him to be thrown up very high. When the aircraft landed at the airport at 6:26 p.m., ambulance and emergency vehicles were already waiting for the injured to be taken directly to the hospital. Those who were hurt were “given preliminary treatment during flight,” according to a statement released by Cathay Pacific.
Some who sustained more severe injuries were wheeled to a waiting ambulance to take them to the nearest hospital for further treatment. One crew member was seen wearing a neck brace and an oxygen mask as he was brought to a vehicle that will take him to the infirmary. Cathay Pacific is already investigating the incident. “Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department has been informed of the incident, and we are collaborating with the authority on the investigation,” said a spokesperson from the airline. The past few days have seen Japan experience severe snowstorms, the worst in decades for some prefectures. 23 people have reportedly died from the extreme weather and transportation has been affected by the road conditions.
[via The Sydney Morning Herald]