Emergency Services were called to Sydney Airport following Flight MU777’s landing on 29 November 2016.  The Airbus A330, operated by China Eastern Airlines, was flying from South-west China to Sydney when it was hit with what has been reported as “terrible turbulence” shortly before landing. The turbulence arose at high altitude on its approach to Kingsford-Smith Airport.

Two crew members and five air passengers were injured as a result of the turbulent landing. Injuries that have been reported include a lacerated jaw, neck injuries, head wounds, wrist pain and back pain. It is thought that the injured passengers were not wearing their seat belts.

Five of the wounded were transported to nearby hospitals where they received further medical treatment. The severity of the turbulence was also illustrated in passenger photographs of the damage to the aircraft’s interior.

A similar scene unfolded in April 2016 when passengers on a Thai Airways Boeing 777-200 were struck with severe turbulence over Singapore. This latest turbulence incident serves as a reminder of the importance of knowing your rights when travelling on an aircraft that is subject to turbulence.

In the event that a passenger is injured during an international flight, personal injury compensation can be claimed from the airline. The right to claim compensation for an accident occurring during international air carriage differs from accidents that occur on land. These rights are governed by international conventions; most commonly the Montreal Convention 1999.

The most notable difference between the Montreal Convention and most other sources of personal injury law is that an injured passenger does not bear the burden of establishing negligence on the air carrier’s part to claim compensation for their injuries. This means that the passenger does not need to prove that the airline was at fault and the very occurrence of the turbulence causing injury could be compensable as long as certain criteria under the Montreal Convention are fulfilled.

If you or somebody that you know has suffered injury as a result of a turbulent flight, or been injured in any other accident during air travel, you may be eligible for compensation. Due to the complexity of aviation laws and the short time frame to make a claim, it is recommended that you seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

Our firm has vast experience acting for clients who have been injured on aircrafts and we invite you to contact our travel law specialists on 1800 25 1800 for a no obligation assessment of your claim, or to make an online enquiry.

Written by Megan Sault

Megan Sault is a Junior Paralegal in Victoria Roy’s Travel Law Practice Group at Stacks Goudkamp. The Travel Law Practice Group specialises in bringing compensation claims for injured air passengers and cruise passengers, as well as tourists who have been injured overseas. Victoria regularly presents on aviation law and international personal injury law issues.