Some passengers injured on turbulent Air Inuit flight
Boeing 737-200 suddenly lost altitude en route from Montreal to La Grande
Passengers on an Air Inuit Boeing 737-200 flight from Montreal to Puvirnituq this past Saturday, Aug. 24, suffered extreme turbulence that injured several passengers.
“Like, omg, there was even blood on the floor of the plane,” one passenger said on Facebook.
“There was an inflight incident on Air Inuit … from Montreal, people were injured, needs to be reported,” another Nunavik resident told Nunatsiaq News in an email.
The autopilot is said to have malfunctioned near La Grande, where the jet usually stops, causing a sudden drop in altitude.
An autopilot is a system used to control an aircraft’s path without constant hands-on control by a pilot.
When an autopilot fails, a crew member must disengage the system, either by flipping a power switch off or, if that doesn’t work, by pulling the autopilot circuit breaker.
Flightaware’s tracklog shows instability throughout the Aug. 24 Air Inuit flight, including a period of about two minutes starting at about 11:49 a.m., when the aircraft dropped from 9,754 metres to 8,565 metres.
This sudden loss of altitude, or perhaps an earlier moment near 11:15 a.m., threw passengers and a food cart into the air, and left several with injuries.
The jet landed at La Grande at 12:12 p.m.
Passengers on flight EH-732 then continued north, but this time on a Dash-8, at 6:46 p.m., arriving in Puvirnituq at 8:47 p.m.
The jet that remained in La Grande was a Boeing 737-200, one of two 737-200s that Air Inuit bought for $2.5 million each in 2007 from Dolphin Air, a charter airline based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2008, the Liberal Party chartered one of the 737-200s during its federal election campaign, prompting criticism from New Democratic Party that the aircraft was an aging gas guzzler.
Nearly 1,500 Boeing 737-200s were built over 20 years, from 1968 to 1988.
Now online sources say only fewer than 200 remain in service.
These are found mainly in the developing world, because they are one of the few midsize aircraft that can carry both passengers and cargo at the same time and can be equipped to land on gravel airstrips.
There is not yet any official occurrence report filed for Air Inuit flight 3H-732 with Transport Canada.
However, Pita Aatami, the president and CEO of Air Inuit, which is owned by the Makivik Corp., said he had spoken about the incident on Taqramiut Nipingat Inc. and Tuttavik radio show on CBC North in Inuktitut.
He refused to make any further comment to Nunatsiaq News.
According to Transport Canada, any owner, operator, pilot-in-command or air traffic comptroller who has direct knowledge of an aviation accident or incident is supposed to call in an initial report to the Transport Canada Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System as soon as possible after the occurrence.
A full report to CADORS must be submitted within 30 days of the occurrence.