On September 26, 1997, about 1615 eastern daylight time, an Airbus Industries A-300, owned and operated by American Airlines, Inc., as flight 902, encountered turbulence while descending through Flight Level 260 over Long Island, New York. Two flight crewmembers, 7 flight attendants, and 153 passengers were not injured. One passenger received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the passenger flight that originated at Miami, Florida, at 1345, destined for Boston, Massachusetts. An instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 121. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement, the Captain of the flight stated that the fasten seat belt sign had been turned on when the flight departed flight level 330, approximately 10 to 14 minutes before the accident. He further stated:
"At flight level 260 encountered moderate clear air turbulence. Turbulence lasted 15 to 20 seconds, smooth at FL 250 and below. Nor (sic) reported turbulence from NY center or other aircraft...Flight attendant notified me that a passenger had injured his ankle."
An American Airlines line foreman spoke to the captain after the flight. In the foreman's statement he said:
"They told me that they were at Flight Level 260 when they came on moderate turb [turbulence]. They had put out the speed brakes and pulled back the power. Shortly after the A/C [airplane] dropped. The FO [first officer] kicked off the A/P [autopilot] and the A/C roll rolled to the left. They compensated for the problem and then flight went normal. The Capt. [captain] also said that the seat belt sign was on..."
According to a flight attendant (FA-3), the airplane was in a descent when they encountered turbulence. The FA stated that a cup of coffee had been handed to a passenger and:
"...he was on his way back to his seat, when turbulence hit. I held onto the wall and cart that was parked between the doors. The turbulence was severe enough that my feet left the ground. I made my way to the last row of seats and fastened the seat belt. The phone was ringing and I finally decided it was safe to get up to answer it...that was when I saw the man sitting at 4L with the #7 [FA-7]..."
In a written statement, FA-7 stated that she had been in the rear left hand lavatory when the airplane encountered turbulence. She further stated:
"I stayed in Lav until end of turbulence. I was trying to brace myself in Lav. I opened the door and saw passenger...on the floor holding his foot. He said his foot was completely dislocated from his ankle..."
A review of all statements revealed that the passenger was observed on the floor, in the vicinity of the left rear emergency door (4L), after the accident.
A review of several documents revealed the following: - Massport Fire-Rescue Incident Report, September 26, 1997; "Patient injured his foot when he landed awkwardly during turbulence..."
- Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Emergency Nursing Flow Sheet, September 26, 1997; Pt. Presents c/o L ankle pain, s/p fall on airplane, denies any other injuries...ankle twisted laterally..."
- MGH, Progress Notes, September 26, 1997; This document stated that the patient was in the aisle when turbulence was encountered, and he incurred a torsional injury to the left ankle.
- MGH, Progress Notes, September 27, 1997; This document stated, "twisting injury on airplane."
- MGH, Progress Notes, September 28, 1997; This document stated the patient sustained a fractured left ankle "while walking in aisle of airplane."
- MGH, Operative Report, September 30, 1997; This document stated, "The patient...was a passenger on an airline flight and sustained a left ankle trimalleolar fracture dislocation.... He was admitted for swelling control of the extremity and evaluation and treatment of his diabetes mellitus..."
- Letter from an attorney representing the passenger to the FAA Inspector, October 2, 1997; This letter stated that during the turbulence a "severe jolt" caused a beverage cart to crush the passengers ankle.
- MGH, Nursing Discharge Note, October 3, 1997; This hand written document stated that the patient, "...on 9/26 was on a plane & got hit on the ankle by a food cart..."
- MGH, Discharge Summary, October 3, 1997; This typed document stated the patient, "...sustained a twisting injury on an airplane that resulted in a closed trimalleolar ankle fracture..."