Turbulence hurts: leading cause of in-flight injury

If you aren’t splattered in a fatal crash, you’re most likely to be injured by severe turbulence. Don’t get shaken up by this, though, odds are the biggest risk you’ll face is a middle seat sandwiched by garlic-eater and a heavy talker (choose which way you want to read that one). While you can’t be saved from the people around you, you can protect our body from a bouncing plane: put on your seatbelt.

The discussion of people getting smacked around in flight on a plane has arisen (again) because of the 21 people injured on United Flight 967 because of severe turbulence. According to USA Today:

Some passengers were tossed around the plane like dolls, passenger Kaoma Bechaz, 19, told The Denver Post. One woman’s head struck the side of the cabin, leaving a crack above the window, and a girl was flung against the ceiling, Bechaz said.

Last year, according to data from the NTSB, 15 of the 22 people seriously injured on flights in 2009 (e.g., broken bones) had turbulence to blame.

Flight attendants, of course, are at greater risk, given that they are more mobile in flight than passengers. Sixty-two percent of serious injuries were experienced by flight attendants, according to an FAA study.

Are you feeling sufficiently alarmed? Yeah, it’s not worth getting upset about. But if you’re wearing a helmet on your next flight, we’ll know why.

[photo by mockstar via Flickr]