Photos: 36 injured after Hawaii flight hits severe turbulence
Honolulu EMS and AMR crewmembers transported 20 patients; 11 were in serious condition
By The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
HONOLULU — Honolulu Emergency Medical Services reports responding this afternoon to a "mass casualty emergency," treating 36 patients with American Medical Response at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
EMS spokesperson Shayne Enright said in an email that a call came in at 11:06 a.m. today about an arriving Hawaiian Airlines flight that experienced turbulence roughly 30 minutes before landing in Honolulu. Multiple severe weather warnings today including a high wind warning prompted some storm-related closures.
The flight was scheduled to arrive at 10:58 a.m. today at Terminal 1, gate A12, according to Hawaiian Airlines flight status.
On the scene, paramedics and emergency medical technicians treated 36 patients, with 20 of those between adult age and 14 months old being transported to emergency rooms. EMS officials said 11 were in serious condition and nine were in stable condition with injuries ranging from serious head injuries, lacerations, bruising and loss of consciousness.
EMS Director Jim Ireland told the Star-Advertiser a few people were in critical condition but turned into serious or minor condition upon arrival at Queen's Medical Center, Pali Momi or Straub hospitals.
Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson Alex Da Silva said the incident occurred on Hawaiian Airlines flight 35, which was bound for Honolulu from Phoenix and encountered severe turbulence shortly before arrival.
During a press conference this afternoon, Hawaiian Airlines COO Jon Snook said they did not know how many people on board were wearing seatbelts at the time of the turbulence when the seatbelt sign was illuminated. The determination of the seatbelts and other contributing factors relating to the incident will be part of a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. Snook said Hawaiian is cooperating with the NTSB investigation but did not have a timeline available.
Da Silva said the Airbus A330 aircraft carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members landed safely in Honolulu at about 10:50 a.m.
Several passengers and crew members were treated for minor injuries at the airport, he said.
"The airline is supporting all affected passengers and employees and will provide additional information as it becomes available," Da Silva said.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian earlier diverted three flights bound for Maui to Oahu due to the weather. One of the flights was an interisland flight and two were trans-Pacific flights, Snook said.
This is a developing story and will be updated as soon as more information becomes available.
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