Lufthansa flight diverted after turbulence, 7 hospitalized
March 2, 2023 By The Associated Press
DULLES, Va. (AP) — A Lufthansa flight that experienced “significant turbulence” was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport and seven people on board were taken to area hospitals, officials said.
Flight 469 from Austin, Texas, had been headed to Frankfurt, Germany, but landed safely Wednesday evening at the airport in Virginia, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Michael Cabbage said.
Crews responded to the flight and took seven people to hospitals with injuries that were believed to be minor, Cabbage said.
The Airbus A330 reported severe turbulence at an altitude of 37,000 feet (about 11,300 meters) while flying over Tennessee, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The agency is investigating.
“It was shocking,” passenger Susan Zimmerman told ABC News. “It was kind of like you’re in slow motion, that you just see everything, like in a movie, where you just see everything lift and all of a sudden it just comes right back down.”
Turbulence continues to be a major cause of accidents and injuries during flight, according to a 2021 NTSB report. Turbulence accounted for 37.6% of all accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018.
Turbulence is essentially unstable air that moves in an unpredictable fashion. Most people associate it with heavy storms. But the most dangerous type is clear-air turbulence, which can be hard to predict and often with no visible warning in the sky ahead.
Storms moved across areas of Tennessee on Wednesday night, creating strong winds in the upper atmosphere, said Scott Unger, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Nashville.
“It was very windy aloft, which could lead easily lead to the possibility of turbulence with any flight,” he said.
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