A Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Santa Ana made such a hard landing that one of the flight attendants on board the Boeing 737 ended up with a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra, according to a recent report from the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB).
Southwest Airlines hard landing
On July 1, when the pilots of Southwest aircraft WN2029 attempted a so-called “visual approach” landing at Santa Ana’s John Wayne Orange County Airport, the incident that sent the flight attendant to the hospital took place.
The pilots were aiming for the “touchdown zone” with little “floating” because of the small runway at SNA airport, but the landing turned out to be firm.
Flight attendant injury
Up until the descending phase, the flight went as planned, and the pilots were making a routine visual approach to runway 20R. The landing was rougher than usual, and the pilots received word that one of the flight attendants sat in the back of the plane had hurt her back and needed medical attention shortly after the aircraft had left the airport.
Her back and neck started to hurt right away, and she claimed she was unable to move. She was examined by paramedics before being taken to a hospital, where she was later determined to have a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra.
The flight attendant had to be taken to the hospital after paramedics were called, where it was discovered that she had suffered a spinal injury.
She had secured the galley as usual, according to the flight attendants, and had sat in her jumpseat in the back of the aircraft, adopting the customary “brace position” for landing.
However, the jet landed with such force that she initially believed it had crashed. According to the flight attendant, she experienced back and neck pain right afterwards and was unable to move.
Despite the seriousness of the occurrence, the NTSB has not offered any advice, and the accident investigation is now complete.
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