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File photo of a United Airlines plane in Dublin in 2013 Niall Carson/PA Wire
St Elmo's Fire

Turbulence injured 17 people on plane landing into Dublin

Passengers and crew were injured after the flight passed through a spell of turbulence.

A NEW REPORT has described how 17 people were injured on a flight into Dublin when it hit turbulence back in October 2013.

This happened on a United Airlines flight from Newark in the United States to Dublin.

In total 13 passengers and four crew members sustained injuries during the incident, as shown in a new report released by the Air Accident Investigation Unit.

What happened?

When the plane was around 150km southwest of Dublin it ran into something called ‘St Elmo’s Fire’: a phenomenon where electrical sparks can be seen coming from an aircraft when it passes through electrostatically charged atmosphere.

At this point, the co-pilot says that the plane was suddenly hit with “rapid and severe turbulence”.

Waiting for the turbulence to subside, the co-pilot noticed that the plane’s airspeed had dropped and feared that it was in danger of stalling.

To counter this, he applied full power and lowered the aircraft’s nose to recover the flying airspeed.

After this completed, the plane’s airspeed appeared to recover before dropping again – causing the co-pilot to repeat the manoeuvre.

In the new report it concludes that the airspeed instrument that co-pilot was looking at could have been blocked by cold weather.


After the plane touched down in Dublin, the eight injured passengers and two flight attendants said that their injuries had come as a result of coming into contact with the plane’s interior.

One passenger reported being in the toilet at the time of the turbulence and hitting his head on the ceiling, before falling and striking a handrail mounted on its rear wall.

One passenger was taken to hospital following the incident having received a cut to the head.

Everyone who reported injuries was attended to at the scene in Dublin Airport by fire and ambulance services.

A total of 131 passengers and eight crew members were on board the flight.

Read: Air Canada turbulence leaves 21 in hospital after ‘flight from hell’

Also: Copenhagen mayor bans 45,000 staff from using Ryanair

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