Severe Turbulence Over New England Kills One Aboard Business Jet

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One of the passengers on a private business jet died after the jet encountered severe turbulence while flying over New England, forcing the aircraft to land at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on March 3. 

The Bombardier executive jet was traveling from Keene, New Hampshire, to Leesburg, Virginia, on Friday afternoon when it was shaken by turbulence, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson, Sarah Sulick, said. There were five people aboard the jet.

The NTSB did not reveal details about the extent of the damage to the aircraft or whether the deceased person was wearing a seatbelt at the time. Connecticut police said one person from the fight had suffered a medical emergency and was transported to a nearby hospital after landing but did not reveal any further details.

“Ask the Pilot” host, Patrick Smith, said that two things need to happen for someone to get seriously injured in an airplane. The first is the turbulence was extremely severe, which means worse than most people ever experience in their lifetimes. The second is that the person was probably not wearing a seatbelt.

NTSB has launched an investigation into the fatal incident and interviewed the surviving passengers and crew members. Sulick told reporters that the voice and data recorders have been taken to their headquarters to help with the investigation.

On March 6, the NTSB tweeted an update to their March 4 tweet

Flight records show the jet departed from Keene at 3:35 pm and reached an altitude of about 26,000 feet before descending around Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) database shows that the aircraft is owned by Conexon, a high-speed internet company based in Kansas City, Missouri. The company confirmed on Monday that one of its jets had been involved in an incident ending in an emergency landing. They stated that the deceased was not an employee of the company and asked for privacy for the families of those involved.

Despite numerous airline safety improvements over the years, turbulence remains a major cause of injuries inside aircrafts.

Seven people aboard a Lufthansa aircraft were injured last week after the plane experienced severe turbulence while on its way to Germany from Texas.

However, deaths due to turbulence are extremely rare. Former NTSB chair Robert Sumwalt said he could not remember the last time turbulence caused a fatality.

According to the FAA, there have been 146 serious injuries from severe turbulence in the years from 2009 to 2021.

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