Skip to comments.United Airlines Plane Hits Violent Turbulence, Leaves 1 in Critical Condition
Posted on 02/17/2014 8:29:59 PM PST by NYer
This plane is similar to the aircraft that hit a pocket of violent turbulence enroute from Denver, Colo. to Billings, Mont. on February 17, 2013.
A United Airlines flight on its way to Billings, MO encountered severe turbulence on its descent, injuring three crew members and several passengers. The Boeing 737 carrying 114 passengers departed from Denver at 11:57 a.m. on Monday and landed at 1:23 p.m.
Several people were rushed to area hospitals.
At least one person remains in critical condition while 5 have been treated and released.
"At the time of the incident, skies over the Intermountain West were partly cloudy but winds were howling over southern Montana and northern Wyoming," said weather.com meteorologist Alan Raymond. "The plane likely encountered what's known as "clear air turbulence" which is hard to pick up on the aircraft's on-board radar."
(MORE: Pilots Who Landed at Wrong Airport Confused by Lights)
The Weather Channel spoke with one passenger who had a terrifying experience onboard. Ejay Oldbull was seated in the back of the plane but had a front row seat to the incident. Oldbull, a frequent flier, said he hadn't ever felt turbulence like this before.
"At first the turbulence was like a jarring up and down, but when we started going left to right that's when I knew something was wrong," he said.
Oldbull says the pitching and yawing of the plane caused the oxygen masks to drop, and sent the unbuckled passenger beside him to the floor to the ceiling. "She just started going up and down when we dropped."
Also caught in the fray, a flight attendant that Oldbull says he could hear "flying around in the back of the cabin."
(MORE: Plane Gets Stuck in the Snow in Kansas City)
As the plane leveled out, Oldbull said people were visibly shaken. He heard one man ask, "Where's my my baby?" Luckily, the baby was safe in his mother's arms.
Oldbull and other passengers, one of whom was a nurse, attended to injured passengers and flight attendants through the remainder of the flight.
Injures from clear air turbulence aren't all that common, but it's a reminder to stay buckled up for the duration of your flight.
“stay buckled up for the duration of your flight”
I always go over them in the SPRING or SUMMER. No reason for me to try it any other time. I couldn't IMAGINE the experience during a good old fashioned winter storm. Yikes!
A good time to holler out “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE.”
The flight will have olive juice and vermouth so passengers can make their own martinis.
Must’ve been a... nasty experience for anybody in the lavatories.
Bumpy ride ping
Oy. And purchase a seat with a seatbelt for the kiddo.
Seat Belts are not just a good idea.
Yes. Always turbulence going over the Rockies.
This reminds me of a news story about a flight between somewhere in CA and Hawaii maybe ten years ago. The turbulence caused flight attendants and some passengers to hit their heads on the ceiling of the plane causing serious neck/head/other injuries.
I fly a decent amount, and ever since that story I really pay attention to buckling up even more than before.
Bang Ding Ow.
Odds are the people who were injured were not taking proper precautions.
On a trip back from Florida had to go over the mountain range to Pa....in a Cargo Plane no less! The noise alone was enough to give you a headache! But the turbulence took me for a ride I won’t ever forget!
Thank you for choosing United and we hope you’ll choose United again the next time you travel.
Fortunately there were no Moslems aboard.
I was on a plane that landed so hard that some of the oxygen masks came down along with a couple of ceiling panels, but nothing like that from turbulence.
I notice on Flightaware that commercial airliners avoid moderate to heavy precipitation when they can. For this particular flight there was no precipitation along the route.
So close yet so far! Moose-Chelle is only a few hundred miles away. But, unfortunately, it ain’t horseshoes or hand grenades, and ‘close’ does not count.
I like this
Splish Splash I was taking a bath
We'll never make it. We're doomed.
Ho Lee Fuk.
Not that same pilot again?!
about seat belts....the other thing I do is I never use the airplane br...I'm always buckled up....of course I watch what I drink so I don't have to go to the br....
from Hudson & Landry's Ajax Airlines
Rock and roll can be an understatement. Red-eye LA to NY via Chicago and we went from cruising altitude of about 38K to 19K in what I seem to recall a VERY short amount of time. It was white knuckle all the way down. Flight attendant with the cart was holding on but he was against the ceiling. Overhead compartments flew open and contents “shifted” all over the cabin.
Minor injuries throughout and we were asked to stay in our seats when we landed so medical personnel could board the plane. I recall the pilot coming on the PA right after we leveled out saying he’d never experienced turbulence that bad before (no,I’m not kidding) and he said it was rolling-wave turbulence.
Shook me to my core. I now have to fly medicated (Lorazepam). I double the dose, strap myself in and boom-boom out go the lights. I don’t wanna know nothing about the flight.
Hard to find a good photo, but sailplane pilots know them well.
Much more violent than they look, like a (slow) horizontal tornado:
I completely disagree.
Back in the 60’s I was on a flight from Indianapolis to Chicago which hit one of those Clear Air Turbulences (CATs) and dropped according to the pilot 2,000 ft.
I was literally up in the air reaching down trying to grab my seat and pull myself back in. Being young and in the Army I didn’t see the need to buckle up before that flight.
On another trip over 20 years ago on a trip from Chicago to Lincoln NB we were violently bounced up and down and shaken from side to side for the first hour and then they finally rolled the plane out to the runway.
They wouldn’t even let us up from our seats to exit the plane before takeoff the wind was so bad. We just had to sit and wait.
Been on a few horror flights over the years myself.
Worst one, (and the closest to death, I believe) was on a 19 passenger aircraft that got caught in unforecast, closing-up thunderstorms between the US and the Bahamas. What should have been a 45 minute flight turned in to a 105 minute nightmare, as the crew tried desperately to find a hole in the storms.
I just belted up and hunkered down in the front row, watching the bulkhead flex, glad that I couldn’t see where the screams behind me were coming from.
Luckily, the flight crew were two grey-haired, near retirement experts, and even they were covered in sweat when we landed.
Been in a couple hit by lightening, and four declared emergencies, over the years.
(Let’s just not talk about the Air Force flying)
The only difference is that I was six years old, on my first airplane flight. My family did not travel much so it never came up until I was an adult.
I was terrified of flying...TERRIFIED...even when it was required of me for work, and I had no idea "why." I had apparently "blocked" that entire experience. I drove nearly everywhere when it was possible.
Finally, after being "forced" to fly to Boston, I had a terrible return flight (storms all the way in the Early Spring). After I got off of that flight, I "remembered" the one when I was six years old.
I promptly called my Mother and asked her if my suddenly recalled memory was accurate. She said..."well yes, I thought you KNEW that was why you were afraid to fly!"
I think as an adult it is a terrible experience, but you can at least understand what happened. To my six year old self, I was SO excited...was sitting by the window, had visited the cabin and gotten my little red plastic "wings," and was just having lunch when all hell broke loose. Apparently, I had zero way to process that in my little brain.
My dad was a seasoned ATP pilot and he and I alone were flying his Twin Commanche from Indianapolis to Detroit one winter night, IFR.
Controllers had us holding in a pattern at a major airway between Chicago and Detroit in the middle of a thunderstorm, about 11,000 feet.
It was tearing us up. 2,000’ drops and climbs in a second, throws both left and right. Dad was barking out to me commands re: radio settings, transponder settings, etc. The look on his face was almost one of shear terror - one I’d never seen before even though we’d been in some tough situations before and I’d been his co-pilot for 12 years. We weren’t in an airliner, but a tiny private plane. Of course, we were both tightly belted.
But after maybe 20 minutes holding in the storm, Dad finally called control and said, “You’ve gotta get us out of this or we’ll break up....”
They did, and we soon landed safely in Detroit - to pick up my girlfriend.
As soon as we got out of the plane on the ground, sweat still on his brow, Dad said, “I never want to go through that again as long as I live...” The flight back to Naptown was crystal clear and a beautiful starry night as the front had moved through - coulda been VFR.....
And this is a pilot who once lost all power on a take-off due to hydraulic failure to pitch control on the constant speed prop, with hydraulic oil covering the windshield so he could only see out the side window. Yet he was able to do a no-power return to the runway and land safely.
I was in a similar experience in a 737 flying from Dallas to Newport News in the 90s. Shortly after takeoff, in april, we encountered a sudden lurching up and down. Flight attendant was moving the cart up the aisle, it fell back into her and knocked her against the rear of the plane causing her to lose sensation below the neck. We did a medical emergency landing in Shreveport, barely long enough for that plane, she was removed, an attendant from another airline volunteered to handle the safety duties of the missing attendant and we blasted off barely out of that short runway airport. I never heard how she fared from the injury.
Looks like Peeps.
Wow, that’s a heck of a dad, to make that landing.
I don’t like flying at all anymore.
Last time I flew my handglider, some wing spars came out somehow. It was weird because I had checked them all, the cord holding them in snapped.
I was a flight attendant for over 20 years. You would not believe how many times I had to tell MEN to fasten their seatbelt when we were going through turbulence or getting ready to hit unstable areas. Oh, they sure showed me when they would unfasten it when I was gone.
Turbulence is invisible and we would hit it going about 600 miles an hour. I have been severely injured from clear air turbulence, dropping 1000 feet and bouncing between the floor and ceiling.
“about seat belts....the other thing I do is I never use the airplane br...I’m always buckled up....of course I watch what I drink so I don’t have to go to the br....”
You and I would make good traveling buddies ;)
Prayers lifted for that last passenger involved : /
We were landing in Jacksonville, Fla, don’t know what happened but the plane was slamming on the brakes like crazy, the plane skidded sideways quite a bit books and other objects started flying around the cabin. It was dead silent, no one uttered a word then suddenly some guy yells, “Captain! Just hit him, hit the effing squirrel. By that time things had settled down and the entire cabin started hysterically laughing.
Wow, that is QUITE the experience! Pass the Lorazepam, please!