Turbulence on a commercial airline flight is not an uncommon, but the violent turbulence that the passengers and flight crew experienced aboard United Airlines Flight 1676 on Monday afternoon was out of the ordinary. Imagine sitting in your seat, minutes away from landing at your destination when all of a sudden, the plane banks hard to the right and plunges toward the ground. The person next to you is tossed to the ceiling, hitting the overhead bin so hard that it cracks. Once the plane is stable, a woman begins to scream for her baby.
That’s exactly what United passenger Bill Dahlin experienced Monday. Dahlin was one of 114 passengers aboard United Flight 1676, which departed from Denver, Colorado minutes before noon, bound for Billings, Montana. The Boeing 737 plane hit turbulence as it was making its descent into Billings Logan International Airport. It landed at 1:23 p.m.
Kerri Mullins, another passenger, said the incident was the scariest 25 seconds of her life. “I thought ‘Wow! Yeah, this is it,’ ” said Mullins. “It’s the most helpless feeling ever – to just be sitting there and not have any control over anything.” She added that several passengers that were not wearing seat belts hit the ceiling as the plane briefly fell from the sky. Once the plane was stable, passengers passed personal items that had flown about the cabin like cell phones and wallets back to their rightful owners. “I thought it was very interesting that the pilot never came on and said anything about what had happened,” Mullins said. “There was nothing.”
A flight attendant injured in the incident remained in an area hospital as of Monday night, according to a United spokesman. The identity of the hospitalized flight attendant has not yet been released. According to a statement from United, “our primary focus is assisting our employees and passengers who were injured, and our flight safety team will review what happened.”
Baum Hedlund assists families and individuals that sustain personal injuries from in-flight turbulence, airplane design defect claims and aviation accident claims. To learn more about the firm’s aviation attorneys, please visit our United Airlines accident attorney page.