Southwest Airlines flight attendant fractures on landing

A hard landing on a Southwest Airlines plane carrying 142 passengers and crew fractured a flight attendant’s vertebra last month at John Wayne Airport in California, federal investigators say.

“She indicated that the plane hit the ground with such force that she thought the plane had crashed,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released Aug. 5. The flight attendant’s back and neck were in so much pain that she couldn’t move. . Paramedics transported her to the hospital, the NTSB said.

The Santa Ana, Calif., airport has a short runway, the NTSB said, and pilots were “aiming for the touchdown zone” and looking to land “with minimal flutter.” However, it ended up being a firm landing.

Flight attendants say injuries from turbulent skies are usually more of a concern when walking around the cabin. The stewardess in this case was strapped to her jump seat toward the rear of the plane before landing.

No one else was injured in the July 1 incident, investigators said, and Southwest said the plane continued to its next destination. The airline said it conducted an internal review but declined to answer questions about the cause of the hard landing.

Southwest said in a statement that safety was its top priority, adding, “We are concerned when an employee is injured.”

The non-profit Flight Safety Foundation said in a report this year that runway incidents accounted for a significant share of those it tracked worldwide in 2021. Among them are “events such as tail strikes , amphibious aircraft landing on water with their landing gear extended, heavy or hard landings that resulted in significant airframe damage, and landing gear collapses or other landing gear problems” , according to the report, which cites 13 such incidents.

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