A flight attendant fractured one of her vertebra when a Southwest flight landed in California (Picture: AP/Getty Images)
A Southwest flight attendant broke her back when the plane she was working on made a ‘hard landing’ in July.
The flight attendant suffered a compression fracture in a vertebra in her upper back.
The plane, an 18-year-old Boeing 737-700, landed at John Wayne-Orange County Airport in Santa Ana on July 1, after departing from Oakland.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation into the incident and released a final report on Friday. It has not yet been distributed to the public.
The pilots performed a ‘hard landing’ on a relatively short runway, but none of the other 141 people onboard were injured.
The flight attendant was seated in a jump seat in the back of the plane for the landing.
She reported feeling a sharp pain in her back and neck, then wasn’t able to move.
‘She indicated that the plane hit the ground with such force that she thought the plane had crashed,’ the report reads.
The flight crew informed the pilots about her injury shortly after the landing as the plane was taxiing.
Paramedics responded to the scene and transported her to a local hospital.
The runway at John Wayne Airport is 5,700 feet long – much shorter than runways at other airports. However, the pilots told the NTSB they aimed for the ‘touchdown zone’ for the shorter runway.
Southwest said that customer and employee safety was their ‘top priority’ and they cooperated with the NTSB investigation.
‘We reported the matter to the NTSB in accordance with regulatory requirements and conducted an internal review of the event,’ a spokesperson for Southwest told Metro.co.uk.
Southwest did not say whether the plane was damaged at all in the landing. It was evaluated to have ‘continuous airworthiness’ at its last inspection on June 29.
The plane is reportedly still making daily flights since the incident in July.
It was not the first landing emergency commercial planes have faced this year.
In June, a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to Miami with 137 passengers crashed on the runway. Although the plane burst on fire in a terrifying sight, there were no casualties. Three people were hospitalized.
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