A pilot on a Hawaiian Airlines flight said a plume-like cloud «shot» in front of the plane moments before severe turbulence that injured more than two dozen people and damaged the plane last month, federal officials said on Monday. friday.

The pilot, captain of the Dec. 18 flight from Phoenix to Honolulu, said conditions were calm and onboard weather radar showed no turbulence as they flew above a cirrostratus cloud layer at an altitude of 37,000 to 38,000 feet, he reported. National. the Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report on the incident.

Just after 10 a.m., when the flight was 40 minutes from landing, a «cloud rose vertically (like a plume of smoke) in front of the aircraft in a matter of seconds, and there was insufficient time to deviate,» the report says. . .

Oxygen masks on a Hawaiian Airlines plane after passengers were injured in severe turbulence on December 18.
Oxygen masks on a Hawaiian Airlines plane after passengers were injured in severe turbulence on December 18.Jasmine Bitanga / AP

The pilot told the chief flight attendant about the weather ahead, and within 1 to 3 seconds, the plane, an Airbus A330, crashed into what the report described as «severely convective-induced turbulence,» the report says. .

«Shortly after the turbulence-related disturbance, the chief flight attendant informed the flight crew that there were multiple injuries in the cabin,» the report said.

Satellite imagery later reviewed by the report’s authors showed strong cells associated with a storm system moving toward Hawaii and near the flight path, the report said.

No other pilots had reported severe weather in the region before the incident, the report says.

Of the 291 passengers and crew aboard the Hawaiian Airlines flight, 25 people suffered cuts, bruises, nausea and head injuries, authorities said at the time.

Six of the injuries were serious, the report says. The damage to the aircraft was described in the report as minor.

erick mendoza contributed.