Pilot suspended as severe turbulence hits plane on flight to IndiaSeptember 2nd, 2009 - 11:48 am ICT by IANS
Hong Kong, Sep 2 (DPA) A Hong Kong pilot has been removed from flying duties after the plane he was piloting hit severe turbulence on a flight to Bangalore, India, his airline said Wednesday.
The Dragonair Airbus A330 carrying 231 passengers and 13 crew members was rocked violently for several seconds after hitting clear-air turbulence Aug 2 over the Indian Ocean on its way from Hong Kong.
No one was injured and the “Fasten seat belt” sign was switched on as soon as the turbulence began. However, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd said a number of passengers suffered air sickness.
The incident took place weeks after an Air France Airbus A330 crashed, killing 228 people, after running into a storm off the coast of Brazil, but the Dragonair spokeswoman insisted there were no similarities between the two incidents.
A report on the incident has been sent to the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department, and the spokeswoman said in a statement: “As is standard procedure in any such incident, the captain has stood down from duty while the investigation is conducted.”
“The aircraft did not suffer a significant loss of altitude,” she said.
Passengers and cabin crew were briefed on the likelihood of turbulence before the plane took off for the over five-hour night-flight, the spokeswoman said.
Severe turbulence has been cited as a possible cause of the Air France crash June 2 after the Airbus A330 ran into an equatorial storm on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris although the reason for the tragedy remained unknown.
Clear-air turbulence is caused when bodies of air moving at greatly different speeds meet at high altitude. It is impossible to detect with the naked eye or with conventional aircraft equipment and has led to injuries and deaths in rare instances.
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