A crew member hit the ceiling and a passenger was scalded by spilled coffee as turbulence caused 'pandemonium' on a flight in New Zealand

  • Two people were injured on an Air New Zealand flight due to severe turbulence.

  • A passenger was scalded by hot coffee and a crew member hit the cabin ceiling.

  • Turbulence is facing a renewed focus in the aviation sector after the death of a Singapore Airlines passenger.

Two people were injured on board an Air New Zealand flight when it encountered severe turbulence, according to local media reports.

The Airbus A320 was flying from the capital, Wellington, to Queenstown on Sunday when it hit turbulence.

Suze, a passenger on board, told Radio New Zealand she was burned after a full coffee pot was spilled over her during the turbulence.

She added that it happened about 15 minutes into the flight as the cabin crew started the trolley service.

"There's nothing you can do. You're strapped in, you want to stay strapped in, there could be more turbulence and then you've got to deal with the level of burns you've just received," she added. "It was actually pandemonium."

Suze, who did not share her surname, called on Air New Zealand to improve the design of their coffee pots so that the lids are more secure.

A flight attendant was also injured on the flight, the local outlet Crux reported.

"One of the cabin crew told us how she was standing and went up and hit the ceiling," a passenger told Crux.

They added, "The jolting and dropping, tilting slightly sideways, felt like those parts where you go on a roller coaster and start dropping down and then boost back up."

In a statement shared with Crux, the airline's chief safety officer, David Morgan, said customers' safety and well-being is "our number one priority."

"From time to time, clear-air turbulence can occur where rough air is not visible to the flight crew," he added.

Air New Zealand did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The incident comes as the aviation sector considers turbulence more closely following the death of a Singapore Airlines passenger in May. Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, said that airlines could tighten seatbelt rules and use AI to help predict when turbulence might occur.

But Sunday's incident shows that even if passengers are strapped in, flight attendants still have to move about the cabin, and debris can still be a risk for passengers.

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