An Allegiant Air flight from Asheville, North Carolina, to St. Petersburg, Florida, experienced severe turbulence that injured four people on board. The incident was likened to scenes from the sci-fi movie ‘The Matrix’ by a passenger who witnessed a flight attendant being thrown into the air.
Details of the Incident
According to an Independent report and eyewitness accounts, Allegiant Air Flight 227 was flying smoothly until it hit a patch of rough air that caused the plane to shake violently. A passenger who had gone to the restroom returned with a bleeding head wound, and a flight attendant serving drinks was lifted off the ground and landed on the floor with a broken ankle.
Another flight attendant and a passenger also sustained minor injuries during the ordeal. The pilot stabilized the plane and continued the flight to its destination. Upon arrival, medical teams were waiting to assist the injured.
Passenger Compares Turbulence to ‘The Matrix’
One of the passengers, Lisa Spriggs, told CBS affiliate WTSP-TV that the scene on board reminded her of ‘The Matrix,’ the 1999 movie that features characters defying gravity and performing acrobatic stunts. She said she saw the flight attendant flying in the air like in the movie and felt sorry for her.
Spriggs also praised the pilot for handling the situation well and keeping everyone calm. She said she was grateful that the turbulence did not last longer or cause more damage.
Allegiant Air Responds to the Incident
Per the report, Allegiant Air issued a statement expressing concern for the well-being of its passengers and crew members and apologizing for any inconvenience caused by the incident. The airline said it was in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discuss the event.
Turbulence on the Rise Due to Climate Change
The incident on Allegiant Air Flight 227 comes amid a reported increase in turbulence across various flight routes in recent years. According to BBC News, a UK-based study published in Geophysical Research Letters in August 2022 found that turbulence along a busy North Atlantic flight route had increased by 55% from 1979 to 2020 and attributed this trend to climate change.
The study’s co-author, Prof Paul Williams from the University of Reading, explained that global warming altered the jet streams affecting air currents and weather patterns. He warned that turbulence could become more frequent and intense, posing risks to aviation safety and comfort.
He also called for improved turbulence detection and forecasting systems to help pilots avoid or minimize the impact of air disturbances on their flights.
Allegiant Air’s Market Position
Allegiant Air is an American ultra-low-cost airline that operates scheduled and charter flights within the US and internationally. It is owned by Allegiant Travel Co. and headquartered in Summerlin, Nevada.
In 2021, it had a total operating revenue of $2.7 billion and a net income of $211 million.
Per CSI Market, as of Q1 2023, Allegiant Air had a market share of 1.42% among US airlines based on revenues for the past 12 months and 1.33% based on revenues for the most recent quarter.