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Update on QF68 Hong Kong-Perth Inflight Incident

Sydney, 22 June 2009

Qantas said all 7 people who required hospitalisation following the severe turbulence incident experienced by QF68 operating between Hong Kong and Perth over Borneo overnight had been released from Perth hospitals.

Qantas Group Executive Government and Corporate Affairs, Mr David Epstein, said 6 passengers and 1 cabin crew member sustained minor injuries.

"This is welcome news for all involved and a special team in Perth will continue to support those who were injured," Mr Epstein said.

"The aircraft most likely encountered what is known as convective turbulence, which led to it rapidly gaining around 800 feet in altitude before returning to its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.

"This convective turbulence is not normally visible to weather radar. At top of descent into Perth, the Captain explained this to passengers and also referred to the radar being designed to detect moisture but not ice crystals.

"The flight crew responded quickly to this incident in line with procedure and based on their regular simulator training.

"Some media reports have suggested the aircraft was travelling through thunderstorms at the time of the incident. There may have been thunderstorms in the vicinity, but there is nothing to suggest the aircraft was actually flying through any storm activity."

Mr Epstein said there was nothing to link the incident to other recent inflight incidents involving Airbus A330 aircraft.

"We remain confident in the A330 aircraft and will work closely with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to determine what might be learned from this incident," he said.

Enquiries regarding passengers should be directed to:
1800 062 241 (in Australia); or
+61 7 3238 7977 (worldwide).

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3933)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au