Injury risk increases without seat belts

Updated: 2015-08-13 07:52

By Wang Wen(China Daily)

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Chinese air travelers frequently ignore warnings to buckle their seat belts, even during takeoff and landing, and when turbulence is anticipated, aviation safety experts said.

"Without seat belts, it is very dangerous. Most passengers who get hurt during turbulence do so because they are not wearing a seat belt, whether in China or globally," said Zou Maogong, an expert from Civil Aviation Resource Net of China, China's largest civil aviation portal.

It is more likely for an aircraft to meet turbulence during takeoff and landing, and seat belts are needed, Zou said.

Even if the aircraft has landed, it is still taxiing on the runway at a high speed and seat belts remain necessary.

His remarks came after a Hainan Airlines flight from Chengdu to Beijing met turbulence while landing on Tuesday, and flight attendants and 28 passengers were injured. The injured were sent to a nearby hospital for evaluation, the airline said.

Pilots repeatedly warned passengers of the possible turbulence and illuminated the seat-belt sign, said Zhao Shijun, director of Hainan Airlines' Beijing base.

Flight attendants also informed passengers of the seat-belt requirement during landing, he said.

The chaos lasted about 10 minutes, a passenger surnamed Kan said.

The injured were those who did not buckle their seat belts, and some were ejected from their seats, she said.

"Most of us were wearing seat belts and we did not get hurt," she said.

Some passengers say it is uncomfortable to wear seat belts and they do not feel they are useful. Some passengers even leave their seats and open overhead luggage bins before their plane comes to a complete stop at the gate.

The airline will compensate the injured passengers, the carrier said in a statement.

(China Daily 08/13/2015 page4)