On November 26, 2000, at 1756 eastern standard time, a Boeing 767, Italian registration EI-CRL, operating as Alitalia Airlines flight AZ806, encountered in-flight turbulence while descending near the coastal waters of Boston, Massachusetts. There was no damage to the airplane; however, two passengers sustained serious injuries. The flight was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan from Malpensa Airport (LIMC), Milan, Italy, to Newark International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under international flight rules. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The airline did not notify the Safety Board of the event. On June 27, 2003, it was brought to the Board's attention by a law firm representing at least one of the injured passengers. The Board contacted the Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza (ANSV), Rome, Italy, where it was confirmed that the event had taken place, and been recorded in one of the airline's reporting systems, but not reported to the ANSV.
According to a letter from an advisor to the ANSV, the event occurred during the descent from flight level 350 to flight level 240, and the strongest turbulence encounter lasted "many seconds, therefore it appears that the event happened in U.S. airspace."
The ANSV also forwarded a translated statement from the captain in which he reported that during the initial phase of the descent, about flight level 270, the airplane encountered "intense" turbulence for "a few tens of seconds." One of the injured passengers was in a rear lavatory at the time, and the other injured passenger was in the process of exiting another rear lavatory.
The captain also stated that the fasten seatbelt sign was illuminated, and had been for "several minutes" prior to the accident. In addition, based on information passed from the captain, the flight attendants had made at least two advisories via the public address system, warning passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fastened.
The attorney's office provided eight witness statements. One of the witnesses was an injured passenger, and two witnesses were her family members. The other five witnesses were friends of the second injured passenger. The second injured passenger's statement was made in a deposition, and not provided to the Board.
According to one witness, the seat belt sign had been on during most of the flight, while another witness stated that the seatbelt sign was on "for long stretches of time, but passengers were up and about." Six of the witnesses stated that passengers were up and out of their seats at the time, and several mentioned that the flight attendants were up as well. Six witnesses also stated that they heard no announcement or warning of turbulence.
The witnesses described the onset of the turbulence event as, "suddenly and without warning," "all of a sudden without any notice," "suddenly," and "out of nowhere." When the turbulence event commenced, the airplane "violently jerked," "began to quickly lose altitude in a free fall," was "dropping like a stone," experienced "an abrupt and sudden" loss of altitude, and was "out of control, dropping straight down." In general terms, the event was described as a period of severe turbulence, followed by a longer period of less severe turbulence.
After the turbulence event occurred, a doctor onboard provided first aid to the injured passengers, and the flight proceeded to Newark without further incident. Upon arrival at Newark, the passengers were transported to local medical facilities.