Three American Airlines flight attendants were wounded after being lifted off their feet and pushed against the ceiling of a Boeing 757 galley as the jet unexpectedly descended due to the Captain’s “aggressive” control inputs.
After the plane successfully landed at New York JFK, one of the three injured flight attendants had a compound arm fracture and had to be transferred to the hospital with the rest of the crew.
After the NTSB issued its entire report on the accident on Thursday, the full details of the September 6, 2018, incident has only now been public. The NTSB determined that the “captain’s aggressive control inputs” were the probable cause of the accident, which resulted in the flight attendant’s injuries.
American Airlines flight AA279 from Edinburgh was descending towards New York JFK after an otherwise routine trip when the Captain altered the aircraft’s speed owing to a plane ahead.
The plane pitched up as it struggled to maintain altitude with a lower throttle setting while still using the autopilot. A third pilot on the flight deck, known as an international relief officer, grew afraid that the plane would stall and issued a warning to the Captain.
When the third pilot called out the warning, the Captain, a veteran aviator who joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War, said he “nearly sprang out of his seat.”
Despite the fact that there was no electronic warning that the plane was about to stall, the Captain increased the engine and “aggressively pitched down,” causing the flight attendants in the rear galley to be “thrown against the ceiling.”
The captain didn’t realize any crew members were hurt at first, according to the lead flight attendant, and contacted around 10-minutes after the event to inquire whether it was acceptable to give his pre-landing announcement to the passengers. Only then did he learn that three crew members had been injured and that ambulances would be needed when they arrived.
There were no injuries among the 104 passengers on board the plane at the time.
The “floor was torn from beneath our feet, and the veiling impacted my head, followed by the remainder of my body,” according to one of the flight attendants who was in the aft galley at the time of the disaster.
“We were full on the ceiling,” the flight attendants’ testimony continued. “I could hear my coworkers and me screaming in pain. Then, I fell on the floor, once again hitting my head.”
The flight attendant who injured her wrist in the accident described how her “body slammed into the ceiling and then slammed back down onto the floor”.
“I could not move because of the pain, so I then laid on the floor during landing until the EMT’s transported me to the hospital”.