DGCA to inspect entire SpiceJet fleet after its 737 aircraft flies into turbulence on May 1, injuring 40 passengers on board

On May 1, 2022, a SpiceJet flight operating between Mumbai, Maharashtra and Durgapur, West Bengal flew into severe turbulence, resulting in injuries to more than 40 passengers, various news reports state. Out of them, 12 passengers onboard received serious injuries.

SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 operated flight between Mumbai and West Bengal

VT-SLH, a 15-year old Boeing 737-800, which was earlier used by RyanAir, and then by NokAir, before heading to SpiceJet was used to operate flight SG945 between Mumbai and Andal Airport on May 1, 2022.  As per various updates, the aircraft was operating normally and flew into turbulence as it commenced the descent. The aircraft had 188 passengers on board, apart from four cabin crew and two pilots.

The flight was about to land when it began hobbling and overhead bins opened up, cabin baggage fell on passengers in the midst of turbulence due to bad weather. As mentioned earlier, 40 people on board were injured, including a member of the cabin crew. Many of them sustained minor injuries and were discharged after receiving treatment.

However, major injuries were reported as well. The injuries were related to head, spine, shoulder, forehead and facial injuries. Three passengers were hospitalised. Two were reportedly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, with one passenger suffering from a head injury and the other passenger sustaining a spinal injury.

As per passengers on board, there were jerks during landing, and seat belts could not sustain the impact and tore during the turbulence. Cellphone video has also surfaced of the damage caused inside the aircraft due to the incident. (Caution: Disturbing)

The DGCA issued a statement, where it mentioned that the plane was flying on autopilot, which was disengaged during the descent, and hand flying was done during the period.

During descent, the aircraft experienced severe turbulence and the vertical load factor varied from +2.64G and – 1.36G. During this period the autopilot got disengaged for 2 minutes and the crew manually flew the aircraft. They reported to Durgapur ATC that few passengers were injured due to turbulence and requested for medical assistance after landing.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said,

Eight of 11 hospitalised passengers have been discharged so far. SpiceJet is providing all possible help to the injured. The seat belt sign was on when the aircraft encountered turbulence. Multiple announcements were made by the pilots and the crew instructing passengers to remain seated and keep their seat belt fastened. Due to severe turbulence, injuries were caused to a few passengers. Timely medical assistance was provided upon arrival.

SpiceJet flew out the aircraft from Durgapur after the incident

In spite of such a major incident, Spicejet operated the Boeing 737 aircraft out of Durgapur on Sunday itself, flying it to Kolkata hours after the incident occurred. The Indian regulator has not taken to this kindly and has derostered the aircraft maintenance engineer who cleared the aircraft at Durgapur for taking off, along with the crew who operated this flight and the head of the maintenance control centre of SpiceJet.

The regulator has also decided to inspect the entire fleet of SpiceJet. This incident comes right after a few days when a passenger posted pictures of a SpiceJet aircraft held together with tape.

Bottomline

A 15-year old Boeing 737 aircraft, flown by SpiceJet, flew into turbulent weather yesterday, causing injuries to tens of passengers and some crew members as well. Due to the incident, the overhead lockers also opened up, and hand luggage fell into the cabin, and the oxygen masks were also deployed. The Indian regulator, DGCA has initiated an enquiry into the matter, and has also decided to inspect the entire fleet of SpiceJet, after SpiceJet flew out the aircraft from Durgapur after the incident.

What do you make of SpiceJet’s actions after the incident?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. There is a reason why the airline crew always say to keep the seatbelt lightly fastened even when cruising.

    It seems that in this particular case, the crew repeatedly told the passengers to stay seated with seatbelts fastened but the passengers probably took their instructions for granted.

    But on the other hand if there were jerks during landing, and seat belts could not sustain the impact and tore during the turbulence then maybe the aircraft was perhaps having issues ?

    Only an investigation can reveal this.

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