CAPE TOWN (PANA/NAN) ―
At least 25 passengers were injured when a passenger jet travelling from South Africa to Hong Kong hit severe turbulence on Wednesday, South African Airways Spokesperson, Tlali Tlali has confirmed. Tlali said that flight SA286, which took off from Johannesburg, encountered severe turbulence while in the Kuala Lumpur airspace.
He said the crew of the flight immediately requested medical assistance for the passengers, which was arranged and ready on arrival of the aircraft in Hong Kong. He said there were 165 passengers on board in addition to the 25 passengers who were injured; three crew members also needed treatment.
Local Hong Kong television channels have reported that several ambulances were on the tarmac when the four-engine Airbus A340-300 touched down and several were transferred to city hospitals.
There were unconfirmed reports that two of the injured were in a serious condition.
Report says it is unclear at this stage whether the aircraft was damaged.
SAA, which is the biggest airline in Africa, has an excellent safety record. The last major accident occurred nearly 30 years ago when a Boeing 747 suffered a catastrophic in-flight fire in the cargo area and crashed into the Indian Ocean east of Mauritius.
However all the 140 passengers and 19 crew members died.