Passenger Trapped In Overhead Bin After Terrifying Transatlantic Turbulence

The turbulence troubles never end...

Passenger Trapped In Overhead Bin After Terrifying Transatlantic Turbulence


A flight was forced to divert after severe turbulence injured 30, trapping one passenger in an overhead bin.

Turbulence is becoming far more common. Last year we saw one of the first examples of ‘bone-breaking’ turbulence on an American airline, and only last month we heard the tragic news of a Singapore Airlines flight that saw one man pass away after an especially severe incident. This week, it’s happened again, but with a particularly absurd twist in the tale…

Air Europa Flight Diverts

In the latest terrifying incident, an Air Europa flight from Madrid to Montevideo experienced severe turbulence that left one passenger stuck in an overhead bin. The event occurred on Sunday, June 30 when flight UX45, operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, encountered intense turbulence while cruising over the Atlantic Ocean.

The turbulence caused chaos within the cabin. Passengers were thrown from their seats and items were tossed around the vessel, resulting in injuries for about thirty out of the 345 people onboard. One of the most shocking moments was when a male passenger became trapped in an overhead bin. Video footage captured after the turbulence subsided shows the man being helped out by his fellow passengers.

The battered cabin. Image: X

Due to the severity of the situation, the flight was diverted to Natal, Brazil, where the injured passengers received immediate medical treatment. Air Europa sent another aircraft to Natal to continue transporting passengers to Montevideo after an overnight stay in a local hotel… some much-needed time to calm down.

Passenger In The Overhead Bin

The sight of a passenger trapped in an overhead bin is… odd, to say the least, and has left many questioning how such an incident could occur. Clear air turbulence, which the pilot identified as the cause of this shake-up, can be particularly dangerous because it is both invisible and unpredictable.

Witnesses described the chaotic scene, with seats and panels dislodged and debris scattered everywhere. One passenger’s video shows feet sticking out from the overhead bin, a surreal image that highlights the increasingly extreme nature of global turbulence. The man, fortunately, appeared to be unharmed after being freed from the bin.

The plane’s flight path. Image: X

Air Europa has since confirmed that all passengers who were hospitalised are in stable condition, and the airline is cooperating with authorities to investigate the incident further.

Fasten Your Seatbelts

While it may seem obvious to some — and may deeply upset those who find the ever-present seatbelt sign and flight attendant reminders to be tiresome — wearing your seatbelt at all times is the only surefire way to minimise injuries during turbulence, especially turbulence as unexpected and severe as this.

Passengers on last month’s SIA flight underscored the vital importance of wearing seatbelts during flights in the days and hours following this terrifying turn. Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student, described the aircraft suddenly tilting and shaking before a dramatic drop:

“Everyone seated and not wearing a seatbelt was launched into the ceiling.”

Dzafran Azmir

He also noted how some passengers hit their heads on overhead baggage compartments, causing dents and damage to themselves and the cabin alike.

Andrew Davis, a Briton on the flight, recalled further chaos:

“There was awful screaming and a thud. Objects and things were flying through the air. I was covered in coffee. It was incredibly severe turbulence.”

Andrew Davis

After the plane diverted to Bangkok for an emergency landing, 31 people were taken to the hospital. Singapore Airlines has since expressed condolences to Kitchen’s family and worked with Thai authorities to provide medical assistance to passengers.

The seemingly random incident highlights the always-unpredictable nature of turbulence, often caused by aircraft flying through clouds or far more dangerous “clear air” turbulence, which isn’t visible on weather radar. As such, aviation experts emphasise the importance of keeping seatbelts fastened throughout flights, long or short.

John Strickland, an industry insider, said that “injuries from severe turbulence are relatively rare given the millions of flights operated, but severe turbulence can lead to severe injuries or fatalities.” Sally Gethin, an aviation journalist, reiterated that wearing a seatbelt could be the “difference between life and death.”

As ongoing climate change increases the likelihood of severe turbulence, all of this serves as a stark reminder to always heed the safety advice dolled out by flight attendants, no matter how annoying that little yellow light may be.