At least 30 injured after Boeing plane hit strong turbulence

The Air Europa flight travelling from Madrid to Uruguay had to make an emergency landing in Brazil on Monday.

Thirty passengers were injured after a flight from Madrid to Uruguay was hit by “strong turbulence” and had to make an emergency landing in Brazil, Spanish airline Air Europa said on Monday.

“Our flight UX045 bound for Montevideo has been diverted to the Natal airport (in Brazil) due to strong turbulence,” Air Europa said in a post on X.

“The plane has landed normally and those who sustained different types of injuries are already being treated.”

The aircraft hit by turbulence was a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The plane has the capacity to hold up to 339 passengers, according to Air Europa’s website.

The news comes as the latest development in a string of bad publicity for the airplane manufacturer Boeing. / Credit: Pichi Pastosa/X

“From one moment to the next, the plane destabilised and went into a dive. The people who didn’t have seat belts went up in the air and hit the ceiling, and they got hurt – those who had seat belts on, not so much,” one of the passengers, Maximiliano, told Reuters.

Another passenger, Stevan, told the news agency: “There are passengers with fractures and injuries to their arms, faces, and legs. There are about 30 people injured. It was a pretty horrible feeling; we thought we were going to die there, but thank God it didn’t happen.”

The Spanish airline said that another plane was set to depart later on Monday from Madrid and pick up the passengers stranded in Brazil to continue their journey to Uruguay.

Air Europa added that anyone who is in need of healthcare is being treated in Brazil’s Natal International Airport.

The news comes as the latest development in a string of bad publicity for the airplane manufacturer Boeing.

While there’s no evidence so far that the injuries on the Air Europa flight had anything to do with a safety malfunction, Boeing has recently faced a series of whistleblowers alleging safety issues at the company.

Last week, a whistleblower came forward alleging parts of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner planes were built in an unsafe manner – potentially leading to “devastating consequences”. A previous whistleblower, Sam Salehpour, a Boeing engineer, said he found and reported similar gaps in 787 and 777 aircraft.

For nearly two years starting in 2021, the FAA and Boeing halted deliveries of the new Dreamliners while it looked into the gaps. Boeing said it made changes in its manufacturing process and deliveries ultimately resumed.

More than a dozen whistleblowers have come forward against Boeing in recent years, and the number has grown substantially since a door plug blew off a 737 Max plane in January just after takeoff, leaving a gaping hole in the side the plane.

The FAA has opened multiple investigations into Boeing and the US Department of Justice said it may file criminal charges against the company because of its ongoing quality and safety failures.

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