Challenger 300 passenger dies in turbulence; storms damage airports, cancel flights

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Major storms wreaked havoc across parts of the country, with heavy snowfall and hurricane-force winds impacting planes both on the ground and in the air. Severe turbulence led to the death of a passenger on board a business jet. The weather caused damage and power outages at Kentucky airports and one plane was flipped over due to the strong wind. Multiple airports across the country canceled flights or closed down in anticipation of the storm or due to loss of power or related damages.

A Bombardier Challenger 300 (N300ER) hit severe turbulence over New England and one of the passengers aboard died. While turbulence is not uncommon, death due to turbulence is extremely rare. The plane left from the Dillant/Hopkins Airport (EEN) on its way to Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO) on Friday and reached an altitude of 26,000 feet before it diverted to Bradley International Airport (BDL). There were five people on the plane, two crew and three passengers.

Turbulence is air movement that occurs unexpectedly and is created by conditions like atmospheric pressure or thunderstorms. The NTSB tweeted that investigators were looking into a reported trim issue that occurred before the incident. The organization is investigating the incident and has not stated whether the victim was wearing a seatbelt or not. Turbulence accounts for many incidents on planes, both private and commercial, but turbulence-related death is extremely rare.

According to the FAA, between 2009-2021 there have been 146 total serious turbulence injuries to passengers and crew, involving Part 121 aircraft. CNN reported that there have been 38 turbulence-related deaths involving a Part 91 plane since 2009 and almost all of these incidents led to a deadly crash. Often, turbulence-related injuries impact crew members, with 80 percent of the 146 serious injuries reported from 2009-2021 involving crew members. CNN also reported that since 1980, only three people have been killed in turbulence-related incidents on Part 91 planes, and two of those passengers were not wearing seat belts.