Flight attendant, passenger injured when Northwest flight hits turbulence


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A flight attendant and a passenger were injured aboard a Northwest Airlines plane when it hit turbulence during a flight from Knoxville, Tenn., to Detroit Tuesday, an airline spokesman said.

Joe Williams, spokesman for Memphis, Tenn.-based Pinnacle Airlines, which operated Flight 2871, said the regional jet took off at 4:25 p.m. and encountered turbulence 35 miles southwest of Louisville, Ky., at 30,000 feet. It was forced to land at Louisville International Airport about an hour later. About 24 passengers were aboard the CRJ200, Williams said.

Williams said the flight attendant was taken to a hospital. He didn’t know the extent of the injuries, but described them as minor.

Severe thunderstorms plagued Kentucky on Tuesday, causing flooding and power outages.

Nathan Foster, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Louisville, said weather could have been a factor in the turbulence.

“We’ve had severe weather throughout the entire area all the way down to the Tennessee border off and on the entire day,” Foster said.

On Monday, 26 passengers were injured when turbulence rattled Continental Flight 128 over the Atlantic. The Boeing 767 was on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Houston and made an emergency landing in Miami. Four passengers were seriously injured when the jetliner began to plunge and shake violently, hurling passengers over seatbacks and slamming them against luggage bins.

Brian Wimer, a meteorologist from Accuweather, said there were no thunderstorms in the area of the Continental flight and speculated that the plane may have encountered clear air turbulence, which can occur at high altitudes in tranquil and cloudless conditions. The Federal Aviation Administration did not have an official cause of the problem.