Severe Turbulence Injures 19 over Long Island on American Airlines Flight 759

February 28, 2018
Abram I. Bohrer

The aviation accident attorneys at Bohrer & Lukeman are closely monitoring the events surrounding an incident of extreme turbulence aboard an international flight passing over Long Island, NY. On August 5th, an American Airlines Airbus A330-300, registration number N276AY, encountered a pocket of severe turbulence, leading to the injury of 10 passengers and 9 crew members. The commercial jetliner, performing Flight AA-759 with service from Athens, Greece, to Philadelphia, PA, had already begun its descent into Philadelphia International Airport when the emergency occurred. The local time was 2:35 p.m.

According to passengers, the flight attendants were in the midst of beverage service when the plane dropped, as if in free fall.

“Thirty minutes out. They were giving us our drinks. The flight attendants were in the last couple rows when they said, ‘fasten your seat belts,’” said passenger Ian Smith to ABC 6 News of Philadelphia.

“And then they said for the flight attendants to get to their seats, and they didn’t even have time. It started shaking, then it took a big drop. Babies screaming, people in front of us hitting the ceiling.”

“I was looking forward and I just saw everything just move upward about 4 feet,” passenger Alex Ehmke told reporters for NBC News. “So, I saw drinks, you know, flying up against walls and up on the ceiling.

The turbulence lasted 15 harrowing seconds. As the plane leveled out, the drinks came down, drenching the passengers. At least one flight attendant appeared to have dislocated his shoulder.

The airliner landed safely at 3:12 p.m., 33 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time of 3:45 p.m. Of the 299 people onboard, 3 passengers and 7 crew members were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

“American Airlines flight 759 from Athens, Greece to Philadelphia International Airport briefly encountered severe turbulence shortly before landing safely in Philadelphia,” read a statement released by the airline. “The seat belt sign was on at the time. Three passengers and seven crew members were transported to a local hospital for evaluation. We are taking care of our passengers and our crew members at this time and want to thank our team members for keeping our passengers safe.”

On August 6th, the US Aviation Weather Service reported that “an A333 pilot” had radioed in a case of “moderate to severe” turbulence the previous day, an estimated 70 nautical miles east of JFK Airport on Long Island at Flight Level 280.

On August 14th, the Federal Aviation Administration released an updated report stating that one crew member had received serious injuries, while 8 additional crew members and 10 passengers had sustained injuries of unknown severity.

New York aviation attorney Abe Bohrer recently commented on the importance of seeking proper legal counsel in cases of turbulence: “I often see injured airline passengers contact the airline on their own after a turbulence event and attempt to secure compensation without experienced aviation counsel. The airlines typically respond by telling the passenger, and sometimes a non-aviation lawyer, that the injuries were caused by clear air turbulence, and as such they are not responsible. In doing so, these same passengers typically give away information and facts to the airline that are damaging to their case. It is imperative that you have counsel who knows and understands the law. Do not try to contact the airline and negotiate a settlement on your own.”

The airline accident and injury lawyers at Bohrer & Lukeman will continue to follow the events surrounding the American Airlines Flight 759 emergency and will update its website with any new information as it is released.

Bohrer & Lukeman has represented passengers injured during the course of in-flight turbulence for over 20 years. The New York-based firm has successfully brought and won cases against many of the major airlines and are recognized worldwide for Magan vs. Lufthansa, in which the aviation accident law firm fought for and won a landmark ruling for airline passengers injured by turbulence. Bohrer & Lukeman will continue to follow cases of injury and/or wrongful death related to turbulence and all other causes involved in aviation accidents. Bohrer & Lukeman has successfully represented victims and their families in general and commercial plane accidents and crashes both domestically and internationally for over 25 years.