Turbulence Last Night: Broken Spines, Babies Thrown From Mothers’ Arms

Sunday night’s Aeroflot flight SU270 from Moscow to Bangkok hit severe turbulence and 20 people were severely injured.

Three babies were among those injured in the carnage after being thrown from their mothers’ arms.

Many of the passengers were not wearing seatbelts at the time because the crew of the Aeroflot Boeing 777 did not have time to warn them.

Evgenia Zibrova posted video online saying: ‘Numerous air pockets one hour before landing led to broken bones, internal and external bleeding.

‘Lots of people from the tail cabin have broken their noses, several people have probably broken their spines.

‘Babies are covered in bruises, people lost consciousness. Thanks that we are still alive. Aeroflot, please help these people.’

19 passengers were taken to the hospital on arrival in Bangkok. Two underwent surgery.

C’mon people: Wear your seat belt when you are seated, even if the seat belt sign is off.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You know, I don’t think that’s common practice or knowledge. To most people I meet, the seatbelt sign being off means not only that you are free to move about the cabin, but that you can remove it while sitting. I agree with you that people should keep it on, but I sometimes get odd looks when I tell people I keep mine on most of the time, like I’m saying I never take my hands from the 10-2 position on the steering wheel

  2. Dag! Gon’ Bruh’!

    I’ll surely remember to stay snapped… i always do from pure nervousness anyway, the click of the belt and a little tightening is like having a security blanket.

    But I am getting ready to fly business class, you best believe ill be strapped in good and plenty. because if i snooze and we hit some air pockets….rain rain go away the old man done bumped his head! Spinal injuries? Internal Bleeding? Surgery? Good Grief Charlie Brown! here they were just looking for a nice holiday in Thailand. Bless em all..

    Wear your damn seatbelt.

  3. Definitely wear a seat belt. In turbulence as severe as this flight encountered, there will also be flying luggage, people and even service carts if there are any in the aisle.

  4. There is coverage implying many broken noses happened to those sitting in the rear. I wonder if we have now reached the point where even belted passengers are in danger of injury as rows have come closer together.
    Please remember, anything loose becomes a projectile. This can include handbags, babies and animals (regardles of status).

  5. @Gary – There’s sometimes not an instruction to wear your seatbelt at all times while seated, and even when there is, it’s not always audible (not to mention that some people just don’t pay attention…). Not everyone is as traveled as you, Gary! 😉

  6. Maybe they need to show people being tossed around the cabin during safety videos so more people will get the message.

  7. Now watch U.S. airlines use this incident to ban lap children and force parents to purchase a seat for all infants.

    Rather, I hope airlines mandate that lap children must be harnessed to the seat belt that the parent must be wearing at all times, except when the parent is going to the bathroom.

  8. @James, I think every international flight I’ve been on has had repeated mentions of the seat belt issue. “Even though the captain has turned off the seat belt light, please keep them fastened at all times while you are in your seat because turbulence can occur at any time.” So if people don’t know to do that, it’s completely their fault if they’re injured because of it. But then again, there are all kinds of routine announcements that some people’s brains will never process.

  9. The long-standing practice of allowing “lap babies” on planes is just insane. Kids need to be in approved safety seats or harnesses, belted in to their own seat. Their is NO WAY a parent can hold onto a child during severe turbulence or other motion. Simple physics

  10. I recently flew JAL and ANA between Tokyo and NYC. Multiple times throughout the flight they made reminder announcements to keep your seatbelt buckled at all times while seated. Furthermore, they also emphasized that you should buckle your belt OVER a blanket or any clothing. It was impressively organized and safety-minded.

  11. While seated, of course, buckle it. It doesn’t need to be super tight in cruising mode, but if there are more than a few inches of slack in the belt (or if it is around your abdomen and not your hips) and there is a sharp drop you can still have bruising or internal injury from the velocity of your body being constrained by the belt. So just buckling it and keeping it very loose or buckling it improperly is as bad as not buckling it at all. And yes, buckle it over your blanket.

    I’d hate to be buckled in and then get nailed by debris though.

  12. @Charles you assume that the ESA will now be a weapon and should be secured in their own seat or under the seat.

    @jamesb2147 wearing seat belts all the time has been out for years. You can not cure stupid.

  13. @tommyleo “Now watch U.S. airlines use this incident to ban lap children and force parents to purchase a seat for all infants.” Just like the NTSB mandated that infants must e in a car seat while in a vehicle. It is no different !

    If parent does not want to protect their child then the child does not have the right or the voice to speak for their own rights to survive then others who are better educated must step in to educate and then regulate to protect the child.

  14. Mine is always buckled when seated regardless. We just took a flight and the lady across the aisle and one row forward didn’t buckle hers at all. She had a throw she had over her so the flight attendants couldn’t see that she was unbuckled. (I could see the belt end kinda tucked in the side of the seat). Take off, landing, when the seat belt sign was lit…im not one to wish harm, but I’d wished for a bit of turbulence to give her a jolt. She also put her seat back as soon as seated. Attendants made her put it up in prep for takeoff, then she reclines it a min later and they had to come around and tell her to put it upright again!

  15. “…then others who are better educated must step in to educate and then regulate to protect the child.”

    @tomri You know why that’s not the law? Because it would kill a good number of babies and parents.

    If you make parents purchase a separate seat for their kids, a percentage of those folks are going to chose to drive instead of fly because of the extra cost. On a per passenger mile basis driving is many thousands times more dangerous than driving. Some of those folks who drive instead are going to die doing so. Meanwhile the U.S. goes years at a time without any commercial aviation fatalities.

    “Others who are better educated” have already studied this. Frequently the knee-jerk, feel-good response makes things worse.

  16. David wrote: “Their [sic] is NO WAY a parent can hold onto a child during severe turbulence or other motion. Simple physics.”

    You know little about physics, I guess. Parents regularly hold onto lap children during “severe turbulence or other motion.” That’s why incidents like the what happened on this particular flight are so rare.

  17. Imagine if this had happened at meal time. The plane and passengers would like they’d been in one hell of a food fight.

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