Daily Camera (Boulder)

1 killed when business jet encounters turbulence

- The Associated Press

WINDSOR LOCKS, CONN. >> A business jet was buffeted by severe turbulence over New England, causing a rare passenger death and forcing the aircraft to divert to Bradley Internatio­nal Airport in Connecticu­t, officials said Saturday.

Five people were aboard the Bombardier executive jet that was shaken by turbulence late Friday afternoon.

The jet was traveling from Keene, New Hampshire, to Leesburg, Virginia, said Sarah Sulick, a spokespers­on for the National Transporta­tion Safety Board.

The extent of the damage to the aircraft was unclear and the NTSB did not provide details including whether the victim was wearing a seatbelt.

The jet is owned by Conexon, a company based in Kansas City, Missouri, according to a Federal Aviation Administra­tion database.

The company, which brings high-speed internet to rural communitie­s, declined comment Saturday.

NTSB investigat­ors were interviewi­ng the two crew members and surviving passengers as part of a probe into the deadly encounter with turbulence, Sulick said.

The jet’s cockpit voice and data recorders were sent to NTSB headquarte­rs for analysis, she said.

Turbulence, which is unstable air in the atmosphere, remains a cause for injury for airline passengers despite airline safety improvemen­ts over the years.

Earlier this week, seven people were hurt badly enough to be transporte­d to hospitals after a Lufthansa Airbus A330 experience­d turbulence while flying from Texas to Germany.

The plane was diverted to Virginia’s Washington Dulles Internatio­nal Airport.

But deaths are extremely rare.

“I can’t remember the last fatality due to turbulence,” said Robert Sumwalt, a former NTSB chair and executive director of the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embryriddl­e Aeronautic­al University.

Turbulence accounted for more than a third of accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018, according to the NTSB.

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