By Allen Zhong
A passenger on a private jet was killed after the airplane encountered severe turbulence over New England.
The Bombardier Challenger 300 airplane was en route from Keene, New Hampshire, to Leesburg, Virginia, on Friday when the incident happened. The aircraft was diverted to the Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks in Connecticut and successfully landed there.
Three passengers and two crew were on the plane.
One of the passengers suffered fatal injuries, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement on Saturday.
The private jet was at an altitude of approximately 26,000 feet before it began to descend and was diverted to the Connecticut airport, online flight records show.
NTSB investigators were interviewing the two crew members and surviving passengers as part of a probe into the deadly encounter with turbulence, Sarah Sulick, an NTSB spokesperson said.
“NTSB investigators have removed the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and are continuing to gather information from the flight crew, operator and passengers about the circumstances of the event,” the federal agency said in a statement to The Epoch Times.
A preliminary report is expected to be published in two to three weeks.
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.
Conexon refused to comment on the incident.
Turbulence Rarely Cause Death
Turbulence, which is unstable air in the atmosphere, remains a cause of 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 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Turbulence accounted for more than a third of accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018, according to the NTSB.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.