On Feb. 13, 2019, a Delta/Compass Airlines flight on its way to Seattle, Washington from Orange County, California was forced to make an emergency landing in Reno, Nevada after experiencing severe turbulence.
The Embraer 175 aircraft operating under Compass Airlines as a Delta Connection flight departed with 70 passengers and 4 crew members.
Five people sustained injuries in the incident, including two passengers and a flight attendant, who were taken to area hospitals in Reno for treatment.
The two other people who sustained injuries declined to be taken to the hospital after they received treatment from medics at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Delta Connection Flight 5763 Makes Emergency Landing Due to Severe Turbulence
Compass is a regional airline operating on behalf of Delta Airlines (Delta Connection) and American Airlines (American Eagle). The airline serves over 6 million passengers a year, with more than 280 daily flights providing service to dozens of cities in North America.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Compass Airlines Flight 5763 from John Wayne Airport in Orange County experienced severe turbulence at 34,000 feet and diverted to Reno, landing without further incident at around 1:00 p.m. local time.
The extreme turbulence occurred when flight attendants were providing beverage service to passengers. The cart ended up hitting the ceiling, according to some of the passengers who were interviewed, as did one of the flight attendants. A woman who was in the lavatory at the time reportedly hit the ceiling and emerged from the restroom with blood running down her head.
“We are an emergency aircraft, numerous injuries, we do not have the number of how many injuries, my understanding is that we have two flight attendants who may be incapacitated with several passengers,” the pilot said to air traffic control.
The National Weather Service issued a warning early on Feb. 13 that a strong winter storm was moving into the region, potentially creating dangerous flying conditions with extreme turbulence. A winter-storm warning remained in effect for the Lake Tahoe area through Feb. 14.
“Among the many questions that need to be answered is why did Compass ignore the severe weather warning and subject the passengers and crew members aboard this flight to such danger?” asks board-certified trial attorney Ronald L.M. Goldman.
In a statement following the incident, Delta said it would be issuing refunds to all passengers aboard Compass Flight 5763.