If you’ve ever flown on a commercial airline before, you’re aware of all the safety regulations put into place to protect the passengers. Before the plane takes off, the flight attendants go through the motions of explaining the emergency exits, how to fasten the seatbelt, and the importance of the seatbelt sign. For many of us, who’ve been on a few trips requiring air travel, this important bit of information is ignored. We’ve heard it before and are now safety experts, right? After hearing what happened to a passenger on a Continental flight a few days ago, I’ll make a point listening to the flight attendant’s presentation every time and obeying the rules of flight, even if I really, really have to go to the bathroom.
Apparently, the 47-year-old woman on Continental Flight 511 decided she couldn’t hold it any longer. Even though the “fasten your seatbelts” sign was illuminated and the plane was experiencing turbulence, the woman rose from her seat and made her way to the lavatory. While she was inside the small space, the plane suddenly dropped during turbulence throwing the woman against the ceiling. She fractured her neck and back rendering her paralyzed from the chest down. After undergoing 2 surgeries totaling 11 hours, the woman has developed some motion in her toes and regained some sensation, but the doctor isn’t sure she’ll ever walk again.
Pretty scary. I have to admit, I’ve been a little ignorant while flying. I haven’t disobeyed the rules, but I have questioned them. I now realize any turbulence I may have experience in flight was nothing compared to what Continental Flight 511 flew through. I guess I was living in the teenage world of “it can’t happen to me”. Time to revise that way of thinking.
Have you flown through some rough turbulence? Do you have a flight story you’d like to share?