The turbulence hit as travelers were receiving in-flight meal service.

Hi Fly A330-300
Photo: InsectWorld/Shutterstock

Scores of passengers and crew onboard a TAAG Angola Airlines flight were injured after the aircraft encountered severe turbulence en route to Lisbon. The Airbus A330, operated by ACMI provider Hi Fly, was met by emergency medical teams upon arrival in Lisbon.

Ten injured on TAAG flight during turbulence

On March 23rd, TAAG flight DT652 from Luanda Airport (LAD) to Lisbon Airport (LIS) was passing over the Democratic Republic of Congo when it flew through severe turbulence. During the ensuing chaos, ten people – eight passengers and two crew members – were injured, with one crew member reportedly suffering a broken leg.

Passengers were being served their meals as the plane entered turbulence, which would explain the severity of some injuries. Footage and images posted to social media show the extent of the damage, including a plastic tray wedged into an overhead bin and the roof covered in food and fluid.

The plane involved in the incident is an Airbus A330-300 (registration: 9H-HFA) operated by wet-lease provider Hi Fly – the aircraft seats up to 249 passengers, with 46 in business and 203 in economy. The A330 first flew for TAAG in June 2022 under an initial three-month leasing agreement and has operated on the carrier’s Luanda-Lisbon route ever since.

The flight maintained its course

The aircraft continued to its final destination in Lisbon, where it was met by emergency medical teams. There was also a doctor onboard the flight who provided injured passengers with first aid before it landed.

TAAG has since released a statement blaming “adverse atmospheric conditions” for the incident and said it called ahead for medical teams to meet the flight upon arrival at Lisbon Airport.

Bad timing

The impact of turbulence can be significantly negated if passengers and crew are adequately prepared for it, namely by fastening seatbelts and stowing items away. Unfortunately for travelers and crew on this flight, the turbulence hit at the worst possible time when plates, cutlery and food trolleys were out in the open.

Simple Flying reported on a similar incident earlier this month when turbulence hit a Lufthansa flight – also operated by an Airbus A330 – while passengers were enjoying their meals. Seven passengers were rushed to hospital after the flight, en route to Frankfurt (FRA) from Austin (AUS), made a diversion to Washington DC.

Were you onboard this TAAG Angola Airlines flight from Luanda to Lisbon on March 23rd? Have you ever encountered turbulence during meal service? Let us know your stories in the comment section.


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