State police identify woman killed during severe turbulence

Passenger who died from turbulence identified
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 4:43 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 1:31 PM EST
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WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) - The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate after a passenger on a business jet died from severe turbulence on Friday.

State police identified the victim as 55-year-old Dana Hyde of Cabin John, MD.

The NTSB said it’s looking at a “reported trim issue,” a reference to adjustments that are made to an airplane’s control surfaces to ensure it is stable and level in flight.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a pilot was flying from Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene, NH to Leesburg Executive Airport in Virginia when the plane was diverted to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

The Connecticut Airport Authority said the private aircraft was diverted to Bradley around 4 p.m. because of a medical emergency.

State troopers also said they responded to a medical assist call at the airport.

The plane, a Bombardier Challenger 300, carried three passengers and two crew members when the plane was diverted.

According to the NTSB, one of the passengers, Hyde, sustained serious injuries from severe turbulence.

She was transported to St. Francis Medical Center in Hartford where she was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner’s office said the immediate cause of death is blunt injuries to the torso, head, neck and extremities.

The incident remained under investigation by the NTSB and the FBI, state police said on Monday.

The NTSB said it has been examining flight data and voice recordings to gather more information on the incident.

The jet’s owner, Conexon, a company based in Kansas City, Missouri, said Hyde was not an employee of the company.

Aviation expert Dr. Michael Teiger said turbulence is a part of flying.

“It can be mild. It can be severe, it can be extreme. Most of the time, it’s mild to moderate and we fly in turbulence all the time,” said Dr. Michael Teiger, aviation expert and President of the Hartford Brainard Airport Association. “Pilots are trained to handle the turbulence. But without a question, it’s uncomfortable. And sometimes it can be so severe that things are thrown about the cabin, including people if you’re not buckled in.”

Teiger said planes are built to withstand turbulence and pilots deal with it all the time. He also said passengers should wear seatbelts to stay safe in the skies.

“We fly all the time in conditions where we get buffeted. It’s a part of aviation,” said Teiger.

“Investigators are now looking at a reported trim issue that occurred prior to the inflight upset. They will continue to learn more after they analyze information from the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and other sources of information like weather data,” said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

In severe cases, he said turbulence can be uncomfortable for passengers, but not unsafe or challenging for pilots to navigate.

“I can imagine in an episode like this where a person unfortunately was injured because of turbulence. It suggests to me that they weren’t wearing a seatbelt,” said Teiger. “Severe turbulence is very uncomfortable, but from a pilot point of view, it doesn’t represent anything in the way of unsafe flying.”

Teiger said people shouldn’t worry about flying being unsafe, but says it is important to take steps to protect yourself in the skies, like wearing a seatbelt.

“Death from turbulence is extraordinarily rare,” Teiger said. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it was blunt trauma injury as a result of being thrown around a cockpit and this passenger was unsecured.”

Stephanie Schoen from Hebron said she experienced severe turbulence in the sky.

“The plane actually veered side to side,” Schoen said. “People were falling on each other. It was kind of scary.”

After this, Schoen said she’s going to be more careful in the skies.

“I’m going to make sure that I keep my seatbelt on, even when I’m seated on the plane because that can happen very quickly,” she said.

Although the plane involved in this deadly incident was a smaller business jet with only five people on board, Teiger said turbulence affects large airplanes the same way.

“Turbulence is a part of flying no matter what, all pilots experience turbulence, all planes experience turbulence,” he said.

Teiger wanted people to know that flying is safe.

He said planes are built to withstand turbulence and pilots are trained to deal with it.

“Everybody wants to get the information right away but you have to wait for the information to come in to accumulate, to get a clearer picture,” Teiger said.

The NTSB is investigating after a passenger on a private plane died from severe turbulence on Friday.
The Connecticut Airport Authority says a private aircraft diverted to Bradley International Airport due to a medical emergency.
The NTSB is investigating after a passenger on a private plane died from severe turbulence on Friday.