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A flight attendant broke her spine in the third case of severe turbulence in a week

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  • A flight attendant broke her spine during a short domestic flight in Turkey when the plane hit turbulence.
  • This is the third case this week in which in-flight turbulence caused injuries or even death.
  • A 2023 study found that the three events are unrelated, but that turbulence is getting worse.

Local media reported that a Turkish Airlines stewardess broke her spine after the plane she was on hit turbulence.

The crew member was working on a short, 50-minute domestic flight from Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, to Izmir in the west of the country.

Shortly after the pilot warned passengers to fasten their seat belts, the Airbus A321 suddenly descended in mid-air in response to turbulence, Turkey’s largest newspaper Hurriyet reported.

The woman, who had only been working in the job for two months, was thrown upwards towards the ceiling and then fell to the floor of the plane, Hurriyet added.

After landing, she was taken to a hospital in Izmir, where medical staff confirmed that she had a broken vertebra.

The incident is the third widely reported case of turbulence causing passenger injuries this week.

Over the weekend, 12 people were injured in turbulence on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin. As Business Insider told Dublin airport, the turbulence occurred when the plane was flying over Turkey.

After landing, police and emergency services arrived on board. Eight people were taken to hospital.

It is unclear whether the area of ‚Äč‚Äčturbulence that the Qatari plane hit was the same as the one that hit the Turkish Airlines flight.

The weekend’s incidents come after one of the worst cases of turbulence-related injuries in recent years.

One person died and more than 100 passengers were injured aboard a Singapore Airlines flight last Tuesday after the plane plunged several hundred meters before stabilizing in the air.

Photos from the diverted flight they show debris strewn around the cabin and blood on the ceiling. 73-year-old Geoff Kitchen, who suffered from heart disease, died on board the plane.

Severe turbulence blew off oxygen masks and injured dozens of passengers on Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321.
Reuters/Stringer

Several passengers suffered injuries, including paralysis, skull and back injuries and brain injuries, She reported to the Associated Press.

In a statement on Monday, the airline said 34 passengers on the flight remained in hospital.

Although they occurred close to each other, these three dramatic incidents of turbulence do not appear to be related. Cases of serious turbulence-related injuries are still rare, with about a dozen people being seriously injured by turbulence in the U.S. each year, according to the FAA.

Turbulence, which refers to rapid changes in air flow, is common at high altitudes but is thought to be becoming more severe due to climate change.

In a 2023 study, scientists from Britain’s University of Reading found that in 1979, there were about 17.7 hours of severe turbulence over the mean point over the Atlantic Ocean. By 2020, this had increased to 27.4 hours, an increase of 55%.

Some turbulence is easy to detect because it is associated with thunderstorms or heavy clouds. However, rising temperatures cause more “clear air turbulence” that appears suddenly and is more difficult to avoid.

Currently, it can only be detected if another plane hits it first and warns others.

According to the FT, fifteen airlines are working on a solution to better monitor clean air turbulence.

Last week, pilot Emma Henderson told BI that while the Singapore Airlines flight was an extreme case, it’s a good idea to always wear your seat belt, even if the sign isn’t on, to protect yourself from turbulence.

Turkish Airlines did not immediately respond to BI’s request for comment.