Ryanair passenger broke ankle when aircraft lurched downwards

Ryanair passenger suffered a broken ankle when aircraft jolted to avoid a nearby easyJet plane

  • The Boeing 737 had been travelling from Edinburgh Airport to Fuerteventura 
  • As the aircraft descended, it was warned to stop due to an easyJet plane nearby 
  • The pilot suddenly switched plane to manual, which caused a huge jolt 
  • The sudden movement caused passengers and all cabin crew to fall to the floor 

A Ryanair passenger was left with a broken ankle after the aircraft he was travelling in lurched downwards during a manoeuvre to avoid a nearby plane.

The incident occurred over the Canaries at 37,000 feet during the Boeing 737’s flight from Edinburgh Airport to Fuerteventura.

The crew was requested by air traffic control to descend to 13,000 feet but then told to stop to avoid conflict with an easyJet flight. At this moment the plane jolted, throwing passengers and all four cabin crew to the floor.

A report by Spanish air accident investigators has revealed a Ryanair passenger suffered a broken ankle when a flight from Edinburgh to Fuerteventura jolted during a descent (stock image)

Among them was a male passenger, who was carrying a five-year-old child in his arms, who fell awkwardly, breaking his ankle.

The young child hit the back of his head in the fall, causing some bruising.

The details of the incident, which happened on February 10, 2018, were published last week in a report by the CIAIAC – Spain’s air accident investigators.

The report found that the violent movement was caused by the crew selecting then disengaging the autopilot from an ‘altitude hold’ mode in a bid to arrest the descent – because this mode appeared not to be having any effect.

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The report said: ‘The aircraft’s pilot selected the ALT HOLD mode on the mode control panel (MCP) in order to maintain the altitude. At that time the aircraft was passing through FL364 at a high rate of descent.

‘One second later, as the aircraft was crossing through FL363, the pilot decided to disengage the autopilot.

‘The pilot, as per his statement, thought they had gone past their cleared flight level of FL360 and seeing that the recovery manoeuvre was taking too long, he decided to manually return to the flight level instructed by air traffic control.’

The report states that during this manual manoeuvre, the aircraft’s pitch experienced large swings, which caused the passengers and crew to fall.

The details of the incident, which happened on February 10, 2018, were published last week in a report by the CIAIAC – Spain’s air accident investigators (stock image)

The report concluded: ‘The investigation has determined that the accident probably occurred when the crew executed a sudden manual manoeuvre to maintain the specified flight level.

‘A contributing factor is the fact that the autopilot was disengaged in order to carry out the manual manoeuvre, which contributed to its abrupt nature.’

The report says that after the event the injured passengers cried out in pain and that ‘their relatives were also upset and raised their voices at the flight attendants, complaining about what had happened’. 

MailOnline Travel has contacted Ryanair for comment. 

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