Severe turbulence on Air Europa flight with one passenger being stuck in the overhead luggage compartment

On July 1, 2024, Air Europa flight UX45, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, experienced severe turbulence while en route from Madrid, Spain, to Montevideo, Uruguay. The turbulence occurred approximately two hours into the flight, over the Atlantic Ocean, causing significant disruption and injuries. The flight had 345 people onboard and was operated by a six-year-old Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with the registration code EC-MTI.

Incident Overview
Flight UX45 departed from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport at 1:10 PM local time. About two hours into the flight, as the aircraft cruised at an altitude of 35,000 feet, it encountered unexpected severe turbulence. The incident happened suddenly and lasted for about ten minutes, during which the aircraft experienced violent shaking and sudden altitude changes.

Passengers and Crew
The turbulence caused chaos within the cabin. Passengers who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown from their seats, and items from overhead bins were dislodged. The cabin crew immediately ceased service and instructed passengers to fasten their seatbelts and remain seated. Despite these efforts, a total of 14 passengers and 2 crew members sustained injuries, ranging from minor bruises to more serious injuries such as fractures. The flight attendants promptly provided first aid, and those with more serious injuries were attended to by medical personnel upon landing.

Aircraft Response and Actions Taken
The pilots of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner followed standard procedures for severe turbulence. They reduced the aircraft’s speed to mitigate the impact of the turbulence and communicated with air traffic control to report the situation. Once the turbulence subsided, the flight crew assessed the condition of the passengers and crew, and ensured that the aircraft remained structurally sound.

Arrival and Aftermath – Statement from Air Europe:
“Our flight UX045 bound for Montevideo has been diverted to Natal airport (Brazil) due to strong turbulence. The plane has landed normally and the minor injuries that were reported are already being treated.”

Emergency medical teams were on standby and quickly attended to the injured passengers and crew. The injured were transported to local hospitals for further evaluation and treatment.

Investigation and Preventative Measures
The incident prompted an immediate investigation by Air Europa and relevant aviation authorities to determine the cause of the severe turbulence and assess whether any preventive measures could be implemented. Preliminary reports suggest that the turbulence was due to unexpected atmospheric conditions, which can be difficult to predict despite advancements in weather forecasting technology.

Air Europa has reiterated the importance of keeping seatbelts fastened at all times when seated, a standard safety protocol often emphasized by airlines. The incident also highlighted the critical role of cabin crew in managing in-flight emergencies and providing immediate medical assistance.


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