A Southwest flight attendant suffers a broken back during a hard landing.
During a hard landing in California last month, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant suffered a compression fracture in her back.
DALLAS, Texas (AP) — According to federal safety investigators, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant suffered a compression fracture to a vertebra in her upper back during a hard landing last month in California.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the landing was so hard that the flight attendant thought the plane had crashed. She was taken to the hospital after experiencing pain in her back and neck and being unable to move. She was diagnosed with a fracture.
The safety board concluded its investigation without revealing what caused the crash.
According to the NTSB, none of the other 141 people on board the plane were hurt in the incident at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.
According to the pilots, they were aiming for the normal touchdown zone on the relatively short runway.
"However, it ended up being a firm landing," the NTSB wrote in its final report, which was released on Friday.
"We reported the matter to the NTSB by regulatory requirements and conducted an internal review of the event," Dallas-based Southwest said in a statement Monday.
When asked about the outcome of the internal investigation and whether the plane was inspected for evidence of damage that could occur during a hard landing, an airline spokeswoman declined to provide additional information. According to tracking services, the plane has been flying several times per day.
Shortly after the 18-year-old Boeing 737-700 took off, the pilots — a 55-year-old captain and a 49-year-old co-pilot — were informed of the flight attendant's injury, which occurred in a jump seat at the back of the plane.
The NTSB, which did not travel to the accident site, has not made its investigation documents public.
The plane landed on a runway that is only 5,700 feet long (1,700 meters). In comparison, the runways at nearby Los Angeles International Airport range from 8,900 to nearly 13,000 feet in length (2,700 to 3,900 meters).
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