KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 9 – Passengers on flights must reduce their movement when not seated and always fasten the seat belt even if the sign is switched off, in order to prevent injuries during severe air turbulence. Former Royal Malaysian Air Force officer, Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff said these are the two best security measures to deal with any air turbulence that often occurred during flights.

“Air turbulence is not dangerous as the airframe of an aircraft is designed to withstand high impact. The dangerous part is when there are flying objects or when passengers do not strap in while seated. Before this, three passengers were killed when their heads knocked against the aircraft ceiling due to turbulence. A number of worst case scenario will likely happen if we take air turbulence lightly,” he said. 

“Besides that, for parents travelling with infants, do not make it a habit of putting your baby to sleep on your lap. In one turbulence case, a baby slipped from the mother’s fold and was flung off to other seat at a different row,” he told the reporters here today. 

He was commenting on an incident where several passengers and cabin crew on Malaysia Airlines flight MH01 en-route from London to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, were injured during severe turbulence over the Bay of Bengal. The Airbus 380 jet with 378 passengers and crew onboard, however, landed safely at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. 

On the following day, there were a similar incident occurred on Avianca flight AV965 when the Airbus 330-300 jet was caught in a severe turbulence over the Andes mountains, injuring at least 20 passengers and eight crew members during a meal service routine. 

Last month, more than 30 people were injured when an Etihad Airways flight was hit by unanticipated severe turbulence when the jet was approaching into the airspace of Jakarta, Indonesia. Commenting further on air turbulence, Abdul Rahmat said there were two types of such turbulence, namely anticipated and unanticipated air turbulence. 

“Anticipated turbulence was formed as a result of convective weather patterns, seasons and terrain. It is due to rain clouds formation and strong winds blowing over mountain ranges. Rain clouds and Cirrus clouds which are thin due to the winds passage on mountain’s surface. It can be detected by radar through the tracking of cloud formation and seen by the naked eye. 

He said that the second (type) is air turbulence that gives adverse effects to several aircrafts. He said it is also known as Clear Air Turbulence (CAT). He also added that, for this type, it is invisible, comes without warning and occurs any time during a flight. Asked whether there was a need for any airline company to change its flight route, Abdul Rahmat said it can be done to avoid severe vibration to an aircraft but unfortunately, CAT is hard to detect from the radar nor the naked eye. — Bernama

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