A Qatar Airways flight attendant has suffered a shoulder injury after a Warsaw-bound plane encountered turbulence shortly after taking off from Doha early this morning, an airline spokesperson has confirmed.
While none of the passengers aboard the Airbus A320 appear to have been injured, a spokesperson for Warsaw Chopin Airport in Poland said medical attention was given to two individuals once the plane landed.
Qatar Airways flight QR261 departed Hamad International Airport a few minutes behind schedule this morning at 2:49am.
Approximately 10 minutes into the flight, with the crew already up from their seats preparing the cabin service, the plane suddenly ascended and listed sharply to the right-hand side, according to passenger Joanna Gasiorowska.
“We flipped like a piece of paper in the wind,” she told Doha News.
She said there was a sensation of the plane in free-fall for between five and seven seconds, during which several crew members hit the ceiling.
Several flight attendants appeared to suffer minor injuries, according to Gasiorowska, who said one complained of pain in her forehead and behind her eye, while another tied her left arm in a sling for the remainder of the flight.
The most seriously hurt flight attendant told a passenger that she could not move her arm and spent the rest of the flight seated and experiencing considerable discomfort, said Gasiorowska, who tweeted about what happened.
The incident took place over the coast of Bahrain. Gasiorowska said that while the captain came back several times to check on the condition of the crew, no official explanation was given.
However, she said a crew member told her that the Qatar Airways plane was mechanically fine, but had passed through another aircraft’s wake and “described it as near-miss.”
The skies over Qatar and the Gulf are growing increasingly more congested amid the rapid growth of the national carrier, Emirates and Etihad airlines.
International aviation authorities have previously voiced concerns about the air traffic congestion in the Gulf and urged governments to open up more air space for civilian use.
A Qatar Airways spokesperson told Doha News that he had no information about the involvement of a second aircraft. He added that the Warsaw-bound plane encountered “normal, moderate turbulence” and one crew member suffered a “slight shoulder bruise.”
If there was a second plane involved, Gasiorowska said she’d like to be notified of the outcome of any investigation and find out if the incident was the result of an error made by an air traffic controller, the Qatar Airways cockpit crew or another pilot.
The passengers’ frayed nerves were tested again at the conclusion of their roughly six-hour journey. Approximately 400 feet above the Warsaw runway, the Qatar Airways plane suddenly pulled up and aborted its landing, flight tracking monitors show.
The plane circled around the airport to make a second approach and landed without incident.
As the aircraft taxied away from the runway, Gasiorowska said she heard a standard script being read over the intercom, hoping that she and the other passengers had a pleasant flight, several moments before paramedics boarded to treat the injured flight attendant.