LATAM Flight Makes Rough Landing in Auckland, 50 Passengers Injured

On Monday, a LATAM flight from Sydney to Auckland encountered severe turbulence, leading to the hospitalization of thirteen passengers. The airline, LATAM Airlines, stated that flight LA800 experienced a “technical event” causing significant movement during the journey. Despite not disclosing specific details about the incident, LATAM Airlines assured that the plane landed at Auckland Airport as planned. The airline expressed deep regret for any inconvenience or discomfort caused to passengers and acknowledged the efforts of first responders in addressing the situation.

Travelers reported broken roof panels and blood on the ceiling after the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner suddenly dropped from midair during what one passenger described as a “quick little drop.” A New Zealand Herald reporter on board quoted one passenger who claimed the aircraft made a “violent drop” for a second or two. The newspaper also quoted the New Zealand ambulance service, Hato Hone St John, which said it treated roughly 50 passengers as soon as the plane landed at Auckland International Airport. It said one patient was in a serious condition while the others were in moderate to minor injury.

Ambulance spokesperson Gerard Campbell said the first ambulance vehicles arrived at the airport about an hour after landing. He said ambulance crews assessed and treated about 50 patients at the scene, with 13 taken to hospital. “Our crews have taken patients to Middlemore and two other hospitals for further treatment,” he said. “One patient is in a serious condition, and the others have moderate to minor injuries.”

One passenger, Brian Jokat, told the local news website Stuff that he had woken from a nap and had seen his seat neighbor on the aircraft’s ceiling. He said the turbulence was so severe that “some roof panels were broken,” and people screamed. He said he saw one passenger with blood on their head, and a lot of people were not wearing seatbelts when the plane suddenly dropped.

The aircraft reportedly dropped so rapidly that many passengers had to grab their luggage from overhead bins to avoid falling, and some were thrown from their seats. The Herald reported that several cabin crew were also injured.

LATAM’s statement said it was in contact with the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) as it investigated the incident and would provide the AAIB with “additional information as required.”

The airline is a major international operator of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the company’s best-selling jetliner model. However, the aircraft has recently been hit with a series of quality concerns. In January, a door panel on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airlines plane blew off in midair over Oregon. That incident did not lead to a crash but a lengthy grounding of the aircraft type. US plane maker Boeing has apologized for the issue and promised to review its manufacturing processes. A federal aviation safety panel report found last year that the US company had failed to update safety rules for the Dreamliner model.

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