A Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Santa Ana landed with such force that one of the flight attendants aboard the Boeing 737 ended up suffering a “serious injury” with a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra, a new report from the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded.
The incident which landed the flight attendant in the hospital occurred on July 1 when the pilots of Southwest flight WN2029 made a so-called ‘visual approach’ landing at Santa Ana’s John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA).
Due to the short runway at SNA airport, the pilots were aiming for the ‘touchdown zone’ with minimal ‘floating’ but it ended up being a firm landing. Shortly after landing, the pilots received a call from the cabin informing them one of the flight attendants had been injured.
Paramedics were called and the flight attendant had to be transported to the hospital where she was later diagnosed with a spinal injury.
The flight attendants told NTSB investigators that she had secured the galley as normal and had taken her jumpseat at the back of the plane where she adopted the standard ‘brace position’ for landing.
But upon landing, the plane hit the ground so forcefully that she thought the plane had crashed. The flight attendant says she immediately felt pain in her back and neck and she couldn’t move.
Despite the serious nature of the incident, the NTSB has not made any recommendations and the investigation into the accident has now been closed.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.