HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHON2) — At least 12 passengers are planning to file a lawsuit against Hawaiian Airlines over a flight that hit severe turbulence and injured dozens of people.
The attorney is raising questions about whether the pilot and co-pilot took the necessary precautions to avoid the injuries.
On December 18, 2022, Hawaiian Airlines flight 35 from Phoenix was 40 minutes from landing in Honolulu when it hit severe turbulence, sending passengers floating from their seats. Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said 20 people were taken to the hospital.
An attorney who represents 12 injured passengers said the captain should have ordered all passengers and crew members to sit down and buckle up, knowing they were about to hit severe turbulence.
“That simply was not done on this flight — and that is what should’ve been done on this flight. And, if that had been done, then nobody would have been injured,” said attorney Nomaan Husain.
Husain is the founder of the Texas law firm Husain Law and Associates, which specializes in aviation cases. They are currently working on the Boeing 737 Max litigation.
He said his legal team is now investigating whether the flight crew took the necessary precautions. He said the National Weather Service issued a severe weather bulletin even before the flight took off, which the pilots should have known.
“If they were aware of it, then what did they do about it? Did they ask the airline if they could deviate from the flight path? Or, did they just decide that they were going to continue on the flight path that was prepared so that they would remain on schedule?” said Husain.
He said his clients suffered various injuries.
“We have clients with broken bones. We have clients with herniated discs. We have clients with neck injuries, back injuries. We have clients with concussions, which have now been diagnosed as a mild traumatic brain injury,” said Husain.
The day after the incident, Hawaiian Airlines said it was aware of the forecast and unstable air but had no warning the particular patch of air where the turbulence occurred was in any way dangerous.
The NTSB preliminary report said the captain saw a cloud shoot up toward the aircraft in seconds, leaving no time to deviate.
Husain said more research is being done before filing the lawsuit. A spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines said he is unable to comment due to the ongoing NTSB investigation.