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PASSENGERS and crew suffered serious injuries after a Qantas jet travelling from Singapore to Perth made an emergency landing.
Up to 40 people suffered injuries, including lacerations and fractures, after QF72 was forced to make an emergency landing following a sudden change in altitude.
Western Australian Police Sergeant Greg Lambert said 10 passengers had been taken to Exmouth Regional Hospital with injuries described as "quite serious''.
"The nature of the mid-air incident is unknown.''
The town was established in 1964 to support the nearby United States Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt. Beginning in the late 1970s, the town began hosting U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, a defence science facility jointly operated with Australia's Ionospheric Prediction Service.
WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said he understood the incident was caused by "some sort of systems failure".
The Airbus A330 put out a Mayday call after it struck severe turbulence near Christmas Island.
A number of passengers and crew sustained injuries, including fractures and lacerations.
Originally posted by otto2294
i would find it maybe suspicious if qantas hadnt been having all the mid air dramas their having lately. its like nearly 10 incidents in the last 3 months. not long now till they have a crash
WA assistant police commissioner John McRoberts said 36 of the 303 passengers aboard the aircraft were injured, 12 of them seriously and were taken to Exmouth Regional Hospital.
It was not known if any of the plane's 10 crew were injured, he said.
A Health Department spokeswoman said Exmouth hospital was assessing the passengers' injuries.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service was preparing to send up to four planes to Exmouth to fly the most seriously injured to Perth, but RFDS public affairs director Lesleigh Green said none of the passengers' injuries was thought to be life threatening.
Mr McRoberts told reporters that two planes carrying three medical teams were on their way to Exmouth to tend to the injured.
Twelve customs officers also were aboard the planes and would assist in the transfer of unharmed passengers to Perth, he said.
"Alternative arrangements are being made for those who may not want to travel on aircraft this evening," Mr McRoberts said.
He said Perth airport had activated its accident emergency plan and Department of Child Protection staff would be at the airport awaiting the arrival of the two planes to assist with repatriation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had been contacted and foreign embassies and consular officials would be alerted as soon as possible to advise of foreign nationals involved in the incident, Mr McRoberts said.
The Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it had commenced investigating the incident, which it described as a "sudden in-flight upset" while cruising in "level flight".
It said most of the injured were travelling in the rear of the aircraft.
"The crew declared a mayday and diverted the aircraft to Learmonth, near Exmouth in WA, where it landed without further incident," the ATSB said in a statement.
Neither the ATSB or Qantas would confirm that turbulence was responsible for the aircraft's sudden drop.
Two ATSB investigators were on their way to the airport to investigate the incident and another five would arrive as soon as possible.
This was not turbulence. I have NEVER heard of turbulence creating this much turmoil.
On December 28, 1997, at 1340 UTC, a United Airlines Boeing 747-122, N4723U, experienced an episode of what the captain described as wave action (see footnote 1) followed by severe turbulence (two closely spaced turbulence encounters) about 870 nautical miles east southeast of New Tokyo International Airport, Narita, Japan (NRT) on Pacific Ocean navigation track 12 (see footnote 2). The airplane was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 in VFR conditions at the time of the accident and was bound for Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL). Of the 374 passengers (including 5 infants) and 19 crewmembers on board, 15 passengers and 3 flight attendants received serious injuries and 1 passenger was killed. Also, 161 minor injuries were sustained by flight attendants and passengers. Following the turbulence encounter, the airplane returned to New Tokyo Airport for an uneventful landing.
DENVER -- United Airlines said that 10 people were injured when a Los Angeles-to-Chicago flight encountered severe turbulence early Monday.
United Flight 1028 was diverted to Denver International Airport at 2:55 a.m. and the injured were taken to Denver hospitals to be checked out. Their conditions have not been released but a DIA spokesman said at least six passengers had minor injuries.
Turbulence related incidents
The following are recent jet airliner mishaps from around the world. In each event, at least one passenger/flight attendant was injured during an unexpected turbulence encounter.
- During a flight from Singapore to Sydney with 236 passengers and 16 crew, the airplane encountered turbulence over central Australia. The plane hit an "air pocket" which caused it to drop 300 feet. Nine passengers including one pregnant woman and three crew members suffered various neck, back and hip injuries, with one of the passengers requiring surgery. Those who were injured were not wearing seat belts.
- During a flight from Japan to Brisbane 16 passengers were injured when a large aircraft encountered turbulence. Passengers had been advised to keep their seatbelts fastened while seated. The pilot in command reported that flight conditions were smooth prior to encountering the turbulence. The weather radar did not indicate adverse weather, so the crew did not turn on the seatbelt signs. A number of the passengers who were not wearing their seatbelts were injured when they were thrown from their seats.
- A jet hit air turbulence shortly before it landed at a Hong Kong airport, injuring 47 people, seven of them seriously. "It happened very suddenly and everything was very chaotic," one of the 160 passengers aboard the flight said. "The plane just dropped and I saw things flying all over."
One of the passengers on the Qantas flight 72, Oddivigh Forbes, has told ABC Radio it was terrifying.
"It happened without any warning," he said.
"I was half asleep and I suddenly realised that we were falling and people were hitting the ceiling of the plane and there was quite a bit of damage actually."