Crew member and passenger injured in Air NZ Queenstown turbulence incident

by Peter Newport - Jun 17, 2024

An Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Queenstown has been hit by severe turbulence, injuring one crew member and one passenger.

The flight on Sunday afternoon, June 16 was met at Queenstown airport by two ambulances (main image above - copyright Crux). Crux understands the passenger suffered burns from hot coffee and the crew member was injured by hitting the aircraft ceiling. Neither is believed to be in a serious condition.

A passenger on the flight told Crux that the turbulence was, according to a crew member, more powerful than anything she had ever experienced anywhere in the world.

"The flight attendants were bringing the coffee/tea out and the full coffee pot poured over a lady passenger. She received burns and a paramedic attended to her. Then much later once we landed in Queenstown the lady passenger got sent to the hospital in an ambulance. Ambulances were waiting on arrival. She had some blistering.

"One of the cabin crew told us how she was standing and went up and hit the ceiling. I personally have never had such sudden, full on turbulence on my travels. The jolting and dropping, tilting slightly sideways felt like those parts where you go on a rollercoaster and start dropping down then boost back up.

"It was sudden and caught all by surprise. No coffee/tea was served for the rest of the flight.

"The cabin crew member said  it was the worst she had experienced of turbulence in her career and she’s travelled all over the world. It wasn’t super long but intense."

Air New Zealand's Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan has issued the following statement to Crux.

"A customer and crew member were injured during turbulence on NZ607 from Wellington to Queenstown on Sunday.

"The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our number one priority, and our crew are trained to respond to these situations.

Air NZ's Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan

"Our operating procedures outline our onboard response to different levels of turbulence, including detailing when passengers and crew are required to take their seats during the flight. From time to time, clear-air turbulence can occur where rough air is not visible to the flight crew.

"We’re always reviewing our operating procedures in line with both regulation and international best practice to ensure the safety of our customers and crew is prioritised."

Air New Zealand declined to comment on whether new guidelines were being considered as a result of an apparent increase in clear air turbulence incidents.

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