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Flight attendant injures spinal cord during turbulence

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A flight attendant suffered a spinal cord injury when she was thrown into the air after the plane hit turbulence, the BBC reports.

According to a report released this month by Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the flight attendant was hurt Aug. 23, 2010, as the Boeing 737 SAS Scandinavian Airlines flight approached London's Heathrow Airport for landing. She was making an announcement to passengers, unrestrained, when she was thrown into the air and landed on her crew seat, seriously injuring her back. The report stated that the flight attendant suffered "considerable pain and had to remain on the galley floor for the rest of the flight."

An ambulance met the plane at the gate, and the injured crew member was hospitalized for 10 days.

The seat belt signs were illuminated at the time, according to the report, but the cabin crew was busy preparing for landing. Another crew member on the same flight managed to sit in an empty seat but was unable to fasten her seatbelt before being thrown into the air. She hit the cabin roof but was not seriously injured.

Three of the four cabin crew members were unaware of a public address announcement prior to landing warning of possible weather-related turbulence, the report stated. The report also pointed out differing approaches to handling turbulence among the flight members and the crew and made several recommendations to improve training.

An SAS investigation found three other incidents in which crew members suffered injuries during turbulence, including fractures.