Port Authority

30 Hurt By Mid-Air Turbulence on Flight Into JFK Saturday Night

It was the second major aircraft incident at a regional airport in just hours

What to Know

  • A Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul encountered severe turbulence on final approach to JFK Airport Saturday night
  • 29 passengers and crew were injured, the FDNY said
  • Earlier Saturday, Newark Airport had to close its runways for a time after a plane made an emergency landing

A Turkish Airlines flight encountered severe turbulence on approach to JFK Airport Saturday night, and dozens were injured, the Port Authority and FDNY said.

The airline said 28 passengers and two crew members were injured. Of those, 18 passengers were brought to hospitals and 10 of them remained hospitalized on Sunday. 

The injuries were not life-threatening, the FDNY said.

Air-traffic control recordings from LiveATC show the crew's urgent requests to descend due to "severe turbulence." Later they advised controllers that they had one injured crew member with possibly broken legs and would need medical assistance on landing.

Passengers who suffered through the flight described a range of wounds to News 4 New York, including bloody noses and possibly some broken bones.

One passenger, who was in the bathroom when the plane dropped, was still crying from the pain hours after the flight. He told News 4 he managed to get out of the bathroom to find his pregnant wife vomiting from the sudden jolt. 

The plane, a Boeing 777 flight from Istanbul, had 326 passengers and 18 crew, the airline said. As the plane landed, officials offered varying numbers of injured passengers, ranging from 25 to 32. 

Turkish Airlines said in a statement that it was "deeply saddened by this unfortunate experience, and is closely monitoring the health status of injured passengers and making resources available to them."

The National Weather Service’s Aviation Weather Center had issued advisories over New England for Saturday evening, warning pilots of severe turbulence. According to Storm Team 4, flight data shows the plane flew directly through the area.

Other pilots had noted turbulence as well, and as of Saturday night pilots at Newark Airport were warning passengers to prepare for turbulence on flights about to depart. 

The incident comes just hours after that airport was forced to close all of its runways, after a flight from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale had to make an emergency landing.

In that case it was smoke in the cargo hold, rather than atmospheric conditions, that was to blame. 

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