Severe air turbulence caused injuries to 8 passengers aboard United Airlines flight UA 23 on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at about 6:20 a.m. local time as the Boeing 757-200 was preparing to land at Dublin Airport (DUB) in Ireland, as reported on that date by The Irish Independent, NBC News, ABC News, and other media sources.
The FlightStats web site shows that UA flight 23 left Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Saturday, October 19 at 7:22 p.m. EDT and arrived on Sunday at Dublin at 6:30 a.m. local time with 129 passengers and 8 crew members.
The flight deck crew radioed for multiple ambulances, saying "We hit a pretty bad downdraft and we have some passengers hurt so we need some ambulances to meet the flight. It might be as many as six or seven people so might need a couple of ambulances."
A spokesperson for the carrier said "UA 23 encountered severe turbulence during the flight's descent into Dublin. One customer was taken to hospital to receive medical attention and has since been discharged. Seven other customers sustained minor injuries and were released by medical services." The airline is conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
The seat belt sign was reported to be turned on before the aircraft encountered the turbulence.
A similar but more serious incident happened aboard UA flight 826 on December 28, 1997. The aircraft, a Boeing 747-100, was flying from Narita International Airport, Japan to Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii. Two hours into the flight, at 31,000 feet, the plane received reports of severe clear-air turbulence in the area and the seat belt sign was turned on. Moments later, the aircraft suddenly dropped around 100 feet, seriously injuring 15 passengers and 3 crew members, although there was no damage to the aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration says about 58 airliner passengers are injured every year by turbulence.
According to a report in Popular Mechanics, turbulence is the number one cause of injuries to passengers and flight attendants in nonfatal accidents. Two-thirds of those injuries happen above 30,000 feet. Most carriers advise passengers to keep their seat belts fastened at all times during a flight.
United Airlines (UA) operates from Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. The newly built terminal opened on November 19, 2010 at a cost of nearly 1 billion dollars, and serves 7 international carriers including Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, United, and US Airways.
Last year, Dublin Airport logged over 19 million passengers and handled 256,582 aircraft.
United operates 1,264 mainline and regional aircraft with service to 373 destinations, including 110 Boeing 757–200 and 21 Boeing 757–300. Its main U.S. competitors are American (AA) and Delta (DL).
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