Passenger dies after severe turbulence on private jet, aviation officials say


According to aviation officials, one person died Friday as a result of severe turbulence on a private jet that was diverted to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

A Bombardier CL30 jet departing from Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene, New Hampshire for Leesburg Executive Airport in Virginia was diverted to Connecticut Airport around 4 p.m. Friday after “encountering severe turbulence,” the Federal wrote Aviation Administration in a statement to CNN.

This turbulence “resulted in fatal injuries” to a passenger who The National Transportation Safety Board wrote on Twitter.

Three passengers and two crew members were on board the private jet, the NTSB wrote in a statement to CNN. The condition of the other people is not known.

There were no impacts on airport operations, according to a statement from the Connecticut Airport Authority.

The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was scheduled to perform an autopsy on the deceased passenger on Saturday, a spokesman told CNN. The deceased was not publicly identified and no other information about him was provided.

The FAA, NTSB and FBI are investigating the incident, according to statements by the FAA and Connecticut State Police.

“Investigators have removed the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and continue to collect information from the flight crew, operator and other passengers,” the NTSB wrote in its statement.

The NTSB will release a preliminary report in two to three weeks, the agency wrote in a statement.

Turbulence is the term for air movement that gives an aircraft a sudden jolt and can be particularly dangerous for people not wearing a seat belt, according to the FAA.

From 2009 to 2021, 146 people aboard Part-121 airlines – regular commercial airlines – suffered a “serious injury” from turbulence, defined as an injury requiring hospitalization for more than two days, causing a fracture, leading to severe bleeding or other damage, involves an internal organ, or involves significant burns, according to FAA data.

Around 80% of the 146 seriously injured were crew members.

There have been no turbulence-related fatalities on Part-121 carriers since 2009, according to NTSB data. A 2009 CNN article noted that three people had been killed in turbulence-related accidents since 1980, according to the administration.

However, the private jet involved in Friday’s fatal incident is considered a Part-91 airline, a general aviation category that includes a wide range of private aircraft, NTSB spokeswoman Sarah Taylor Sulick told CNN.

There have been 38 turbulence-related fatalities on Part-91 aircraft since 2009, and in almost all of those incidents, the turbulence caused a fatal crash, according to NTSB data.

Although there have been no commercial fatalities from turbulence in over a decade, they can still pose serious risks.

Sara Nelson, a United flight attendant and president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a union that represents 50,000 flight attendants from 20 airlines, told CNN last year that flight attendants who push around 300-pound carts are the most likely to get injured.

“We have flight attendants who have been thrown into the ceiling and then thrown back down multiple times, resulting in broken limbs. On the aisle, in unannounced turbulence, we’ve had people lose toes or become incapacitated or suffer injuries that kept them from working for years,” she said.

Last week, seven people were taken to hospitals after turbulence aboard a Lufthansa flight from Texas to Germany, an airport spokesman said. A passenger on board described the plane as a roller coaster ride.

“During dinner, there was a sudden wind shear, the plane was gaining altitude, then we fell 1,000 feet,” said passenger Susan Zimmerman. “It was like unexpectedly falling free from the top of a roller coaster for five seconds, plates and glasses hanging from the ceiling, and my purse flying off the floor behind me to the right.”

And in December, at least 36 people were injured and 20 taken to emergency rooms on a Hawaiian Airlines flight after their plane encountered severe turbulence on a flight, authorities said.

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