Passenger Burnt By Coffee, Crew Member Catapulted Into Roof After Turbulence Hits Air New Zealand Flight

The incident happened on June 16 when the Airbus A320 was flying from the Wellington to Queenstown

A passenger was scalded by hot coffee and a staff member was catapulted to the aircraft ceiling after an Air New Zealand flight was struck by severe turbulence. The incident happened on June 16 when the Airbus A320 was flying from the capital, Wellington, to Queenstown, the Independent reported.

The passenger, identified as “Suze,” said that the flight had been up in the air for 15 minutes when the drink cart began making its way down the aisle. However, when the cart stopped next to her, the plane suddenly jolted with strong turbulence. As a result, one flight attendant flew up to the ceiling while the coffee pot lids came off and spilt hot coffee onto the passenger’s abdomen and back.

”There’s nothing you can do. You’re strapped in, you want to stay strapped in, there could be more turbulence and then you’ve got to deal with the level of burns you’ve just received. I was able to get hold of a bottle of cold water and start dousing myself and I was able to speak to the hostess who was still lying on the floor and said ‘Is it alright if I get water everywhere cos that’s what I’m going to be doing?’ and she said ‘go for it’,” the woman said. 

Luckily, a paramedic happened to be sitting right behind her and was able to help treat her.

The NZ Herald reported that the two were taken from the aircraft and escorted to the nearby Lake District Hospital in a “moderate” condition. After the terrifying incident, the passenger said she wanted Air New Zealand to reconsider serving hot drinks on short flights and improve the lids on their coffee pots.

Air NZ’s Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan said the company is reviewing its operating procedures to ensure the safety of its customers and crew members.

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

”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,” he added.

Severe turbulence is caused by an erratic wind current occurring in cloudless regions of the sky at the cruising altitude of passenger jets.


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