Turbulence Forces Air Europa Flight Emergency Landing

An Air Europa flight from Madrid´s Barajas Airport was forced to make an emergency landing in Brazil due to to severe turbulence on Monday as passengers said they feared for their lives during the incident which left around 40 people injured including four of whom who were taken to intensive care units.

“There are passengers with fractures and injuries to their arms, faces and legs,” one passenger told the Reuters newsagency in the Brazilian city of Natal, where the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with flight number UX045 from Madrid to the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, made an unscheduled landing just after 2:30 a.m. local time.

“It was a pretty horrible feeling. We thought we were going to die there,” said the man, Stevan, giving only his first name.

Another passenger, Maximiliano, said the aircraft suddenly started to plunge.

“From one moment to the next, the plane destabilized and went into a dive,” he said.

“The people who didn’t have seatbelts went up in the air and hit the ceiling, and they got hurt — those who had seatbelts on, not so much.”

Air Europa said in a statement on Tuesday that six people were still in hospital in Natal and were being assisted by ground personnel from Brazil and Spain.

“Air Europa deeply regrets what happened, as well as the inconvenience caused to its customers. The airline hopes for a speedy recovery of the affected passengers and is at the disposal of all its customers to assist them,” the airline added.

Some scientists have warned of worsening turbulence tied to climate change.

The most common cause of turbulence is unstable weather patterns that trigger storms. These can normally be detected by weather radar, allowing pilots to fly around them.

Recent incidents have increased concern in the air travel industry about seatbelt and safety practices.

An international agreement, the Montreal Convention, makes airlines liable for physical injuries from accidents on international flights, which can include turbulence, regardless of whether they were negligent.



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