A former Thomas Cook air hostess broke her ankle and leg in seven places after the plane flew through a huge storm and she experienced severe turbulence, pinning her to the floor.
Eden Garrity, 27, was pushing a catering trolley on board a flight from Cuba to Manchester in August 2019 when the plane met a mid-Atlantic storm.
The plane shot up 500ft, pinning Eden to the ground and snapping her ankle in seven places.
Her shocking injury left her lying on the floor of the plane for an hour while seats were cleared, and she was rushed to hospital as soon as they landed seven hours later.
She’d agonisingly broken her fibula in five places, her tibia once, fractured the side of her foot, and cracked her ankle bone. Eden needed surgery to insert screws and metal plates inside her leg, as well as a huge external metal brace, and couldn’t walk for two months.
Whilst Eden received full pay from Thomas Cook, prior to the company going bust, she was unable to work.
Eden, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, said: “It was absolutely terrifying. The plane shot up 500ft within seconds. The force of the turbulence pinned me to the ground and forced me towards the floor.
“My feet were locked to the ground and my ankle just completely snapped. I didn’t realise what had happened until I tried to take a step and I collapsed.
“My ankle was at a right angle and I just started screaming. The bottom of my foot was facing to the side. My body went into shock and I just started panicking.”
The pilot asked crew members to be seated due to turbulence, but before Eden could safely secure the refreshments cart she had been wheeling and sit down, the plane flew straight into a violent storm.
She said: “We hit a massive hail storm. The pilot said to me afterwards that it turned black all around him.
“It was by far the worst turbulence I have ever experienced as a crew member or a passenger.”
The AAIB accident report file explained how the aircraft experienced “unexpected severe turbulence” lasting 90 seconds. It found the aircraft hit the storm just five seconds after the pilot made an announcement asking all crew members “to be seated”.
“The aircraft encountered severe turbulence resulting in a 500ft altitude gain autopilot disconnection,” it said. “It was accompanied by the sound of hail striking the aircraft’s nose. It resulted in one cabin member receiving injuries to their left ankle.”
Eden was thrown to the ground under the crushing force of the plane’s sudden rise in altitude, which then saw the young air hostess spend an hour lying on the floor before enough seats could be cleared for her to lay on.
An orthopaedic nurse on board the plane offered medical advice and support to the crew during the flight. An ambulance was waiting on the runway at Manchester Airport and Eden was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital for treatment.
Eden spent nine days in hospital before surgery to insert screws and metal plates inside her leg, as well as a huge external metal brace. Following two operations, she returned home but was unable to walk on the injured leg until October when the cast was replaced with a ‘moon boot’ and she was given crutches.
The ordeal is not yet over for Eden as a third operation is potentially in the pipeline to remove the metal screws in her leg because of the pain.
Eden, who was a Thomas Cook air hostess for over two years before the company collapse in September, said she “always dreamed” of a career in the sky. Yet following the travel company’s administration in September, Eden now finds herself out-of-work and now faces the stress of looking for a new job whilst recovering from the injury.
A spokesperson for the Official Receiver in charge of Thomas Cook’s insolvency said: “Former employees who may have had insurance-related claims against Thomas Cook prior to liquidation will now be treated as unsecured creditors.
“To make a claim against the company in liquidation or against the insurance policy, former employees should contact the Special Managers.”