Twelve people were injured when a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, Qatar, to Dublin, Ireland, encountered turbulence over Turkey on Sunday. The flight, QR017, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in Dublin shortly before 1 PM local time and was met by emergency services including airport police and the fire and rescue department.

Qatar Airways Flight turbulence

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Qatar Airways flight QR017, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was en route from Doha, Qatar, to Dublin, Ireland. The turbulence struck during the flight while the aircraft was airborne over Turkey. The plane landed safely at Dublin Airport shortly before 13:00 local time.

The aircraft was met by emergency services upon landing including airport police, ambulance, and fire officers.

Ireland’s National Ambulance Service received a pre-alert and was on-site to facilitate and support the disembarkation of passengers. Dublin Fire Brigade staff and emergency vehicles also attended the scene.

Twelve people were injured, comprising six passengers and six crew members. Eight of the injured individuals were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Passengers described the incident as terrifying with several crew members and passengers being thrown about the cabin. One passenger, Cathal, recounted that the seatbelt signs were off during the turbulence resulting in his dinner being thrown off his lap and food being scattered throughout the cabin.

Traveling home to Ireland from Doha, Cathal described the scene as chaotic with food on the ceiling and crew members injured.

Another passenger, Paul Mocc observed people hitting the roof of the aircraft and noted that crew members continued to serve passengers despite being injured and limping.

Emma Rose Power and Conor Buckley was returning from Thailand. Mr. Buckley felt the plane drop causing a flight attendant to be thrown into the air. Ms. Power described waking up to a look of panic on everyone’s faces.

Eileen, who was asleep without a seatbelt described the experience as her worst on a plane. Tony had to hold her down during the turbulence.

Qatar Airways confirmed that a small number of passengers and crew sustained minor injuries and are receiving medical attention.

The airline stated that the incident is subject to an internal investigation. The safety and security of passengers and crew are the top priorities, according to the airline.

The return flight to Doha, QR018 was scheduled to operate as normal on Sunday afternoon but with a delay. Dublin Airport’s overall operations were unaffected by the incident.

This turbulence incident follows another severe case involving a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore, which occurred five days earlier.

That flight, carrying 211 passengers encountered extreme turbulence resulting in one fatality and numerous injuries including spinal injuries that left 20 people in intensive care.

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According to the US National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence-related airline accidents are the most common type. From 2009 through 2018, turbulence accounted for over a third of reported airline accidents, typically resulting in serious injuries but no aircraft damage.

Dublin Airport released a statement confirming the injuries and detailing the emergency response, which included on-site assessments before disembarking.

Qatar Airways also issued a statement, addressing that the flight landed safely and that the injured passengers and crew were receiving medical attention. The airline has launched an internal investigation into the incident.

Statistics from the US show that approximately 65,000 aircraft experience moderate turbulence annually, with about 5,500 encountering severe turbulence.

Atmospheric science experts like Professor Paul Williams from the University of Reading suggest that climate change is exacerbating turbulence.

Williams’ research indicates that severe turbulence could double or triple in the coming decades due to changing atmospheric conditions.

Clear air turbulence, which is not linked to visible weather phenomena like storms or clouds, is particularly concerning as it hits suddenly and is difficult to avoid.

This type of turbulence has been increasingly reported and is expected to become more common with climate change.

Historically, turbulence-related injuries are relatively rare. In the US, between 2009 and 2022, only 163 turbulence-related injuries required hospitalization, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not reported any turbulence-related fatalities on large-body aircraft in the same period.

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