Fatal Turbulence: Passenger Killed After Encountering Severe Turbulence on Business Jet

On Friday, a passenger on a business jet was killed after a severe encounter with turbulence while traveling from Keene, New Hampshire to Leesburg, Virginia.[0] The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation and is currently interviewing the two crew members and surviving passengers.[1] The jet's cockpit voice and data recorders were sent to NTSB headquarters for analysis.[1] The jet is owned by Conexon, a company located in Kansas City, Missouri.[2]

The incident occurred when the pilot diverted the Bombardier Challenger 300 aircraft to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut after experiencing the turbulence. According to a report from the NTSB, turbulence accounted for more than 37% of all accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018.[3]

The NTSB has removed the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and are continuing to gather information from the flight crew, operator and passengers about the circumstances of the event.[4] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also investigating the incident.[5]

Robert Sumwalt, former NTSB chair and executive director of the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, declared, “I can’t remember the last fatality due to turbulence,”[6]

The Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu experienced extreme turbulence in the last half hour of its flight.[3] The Connecticut Airport Authority states that the private plane was diverted to Bradley around 4:00 pm due to a medical emergency.[7] The plane was carrying three passengers and two crew members when the plane was diverted.[8]

The NTSB has said that a preliminary report will be available in two to three weeks.[2] The extent of the damage to the aircraft is still unclear and the NTSB did not provide details including whether the victim was wearing a seatbelt.[6]

Turbulence is one of the most unpredictable weather phenomena, and deaths from it are extremely rare, according to experts.[9] “Planes are designed to be safe in turbulence. They don’t fall out of the sky, and any competent pilot is going to be able to manage the turbulence,” said Teiger.[10]

Less than 48 hours prior to the incident, a Lufthansa flight from Texas was forced to divert to Dulles International Airport in Virginia due to extreme turbulence.[10] Pilots train for turbulence to keep passengers safe on their flight.[11]

0. “Passenger dies, jet diverted to Bradley International Airport after turbulence” MassLive.com, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.masslive.com/police-fire/2023/03/passenger-dies-jet-diverted-to-bradley-international-airport-after-turbulence.html

1. “1 killed when business jet encounters severe turbulence” KCCI Des Moines, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.kcci.com/article/death-business-jet-severe-turbulence/43191523

2. “Passenger Dies After Private Plane Hit By Severe Turbulence In US” NDTV, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/passenger-dies-after-private-plane-hit-by-severe-turbulence-in-us-3835677

3. “Another Severe Turbulence Event Kills 1 Passenger; Second Incident in Recent Days” Weatherboy, 5 Mar. 2023, https://weatherboy.com/another-severe-turbulence-event-kills-1-passenger-second-incident-in-recent-days/

4. “Passenger dies following emergency landing at Bradley International Airport” WTNH.com, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.wtnh.com/news/passenger-dies-following-emergency-landing-at-bradley-international-airport/

5. “NTSB to investigate in-flight turbulence that left 1 passenger dead” CBS News, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ntsb-to-investigate-in-flight-turbulence-that-left-1-passenger-dead

6. “FBI investigating after private jet passenger is killed during severe turbulence over New England” msnNOW, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-gb/travel/news/fbi-investigating-after-private-jet-passenger-is-killed-during-severe-turbulence-over-new-england/ar-AA18eo3I

7. “A passenger was fatally injured after a business jet hit heavy turbulence – AIRLIVE” AIRLIVE, 4 Mar. 2023, https://airlive.net/a-passenger-was-fatally-injured-after-a-business-jet-hit-heavy-turbulence

8. “NTSB: Plane diverted to Bradley International Airport, passenger dies from severe turbulence” Eyewitness News 3, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.wfsb.com/2023/03/03/troopers-respond-medical-emergency-bradley-airport/

9. “US: Passenger dies after Virginia-bound chartered flight hits strong turbulence” msnNOW, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/us-passenger-dies-after-virginia-bound-chartered-flight-hits-strong-turbulence/ar-AA18epIJ

10. “NTSB investing after jet passenger dies during severe turbulence over New England” Fox Weather , 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxweather.com/weather-news/fatal-plane-accident-over-new-england

11. “1 killed when business jet encounters severe turbulence” WJCL News Savannah, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.wjcl.com/article/death-business-jet-severe-turbulence/43191523