A Southwest Airlines flight attendant broke her back during a landing that was so firm she thought the plane had crashed, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Upon landing, the attendant “immediately felt pain in her back, neck and she could not move,” the NTSB said in a report published Friday.
Southwest flight 2029, from Oakland, landed at John Wayne-Orange County Airport, Santa Ana, on July 1, the report says. At 5,700 feet long, the runway on which the Boeing 737-700 landed, 20R, is “short,” the NTSB said.
On approach to 20R, the flight crew “were aiming for the touchdown zone due to its short runway and trying to fly the aircraft onto the runway with minimal floating,” the report says. “However, it ended up being a firm landing.”
The flight attendant, who was sitting in the aft jumpseat, “indicated that the plane hit the ground with such force that she thought the plane had crashed,” the report says. “She immediately felt pain in her back, neck and she could not move. Paramedics evaluated her and transported her to a local hospital where she was later diagnosed with a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra.”
There were no other reported injuries among the 141 passengers and crew, and no damage to the plane was sustained, per the report.
Southwest didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside regular business hours.
In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, the airline said: “We are concerned when any employee is injured. We reported the matter to the NTSB in accordance with regulatory requirements and conducted an internal review of the event.”