The number of serious injuries to passengers and crew caused by turbulence declined sharply in 2017 from the previous year, according to information released by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week in an updated turbulence fact sheet. There were 17 serious injuries to passengers (12) and crew (5) last year, FAA said, compared with 44 — 33 passengers and 11 crew — in 2016.
The worst year in the past 16 was 2009, when 94 serious injuries were reported. In 2013, 13 serious injuries were reported, according to FAA’s data.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board requires airlines to report serious injuries and fatalities. A serious injury is defined as “any injury that (1) requires the individual to be hospitalized for more than 48 hours, commencing within seven days from the date the injury was received; (2) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes or nose); (3) causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle or tendon damage; (4) involves any internal organ; or (5) involves second- or third-degree burns, or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.” FAA said it tracks these reports, but not general incidents of turbulence.