Continental Flight 128 Diverted to MIA After Encountering Severe Turbulence




Continental Flight 128 Diverted to MIA After Encountering Severe Turbulence

By Mike Mitchell  (Update)



August 4, 2009, Continental Flight 128 departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sunday about 9:45 PM with 168 passengers and 11 crew members, for a landing in Houston, Texas at 6 AM.

About 2:30 AM the pilot announced possible turbulence and turned on the fasten seat belt lights. At about 3:30 AM Monday morning, most of the passengers asleep, the Boeing 767-200 encountered severe clear-air turbulence over the Atlantic just east of Dominican Republic at its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet.

The aircraft dropped several hundred feet, the cabin lights went out and only the red lights from the wings could been seen.  Passengers began to scream as passengers and crew who did not have their seatbelts on were toss about the aircraft.  


The severe turbulence that jolted the Boeing 767 lasted 3 to 5 seconds. Passengers quickly got back into their seats. The flight attendants immediately attended to the injured passengers.

The pilot declared an emergency with air traffic control and the jet was diverted to Miami International Airport were it landed safely about 5:30 AM. Emergency vehicles met the Boeing 767 on the tarmac, catering trucks with elevator lifts were used to to lower the injured passengers to awaiting ambulances.

Miami Dade County Fire Rescue Department spokesmen, Lieutenant Elkin Sierra reported the injuries appeared not to be life threatening. However, some passengers suffered from broken bones, cuts and bruises. 12 passengers were treated at the scene and released, 14 passengers were take to near by hospitals, 4 with serious injuries.

Continental’s Houston based spokesmen, Dave Messing reported some of those passengers that did not have their seatbelts bucked were the passengers who received the brunt of the injuries. One passenger was quoted as saying “people who weren’t bucked up flew up in the air hitting the ceiling.”  

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Les Dorr reported the seatbelt sign was on at the time the jet encountered the unanticipated turbulence and the Boeing 767-200 did not encounter any structural damage.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.  

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