Severe turbulence injured 10 on American Airlines flight

American Airlines Fight Diverted
Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 6 (UPI) — Ten people were injured by severe turbulence before an American Airlines flight landed in Philadelphia from Athens, Greece.

Three passengers and seven crew members were taken to the hospital after Flight 759 landed safely at 3:12 p.m. Saturday, American Airlines said in a statement. The airline did not describe the nature of the injuries in the incident, which lasted for about 15 seconds.

The Airbus 333 plane’s flight lasted 10 hours and 33 minutes.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew reported the turbulence while flying over the north Atlantic Ocean.

The seat belt sign was on at the time.

“Thirty minutes out. They were giving us our drinks,” Ian Smith of South Philadelphia told WPVI-TV. “The flight attendants were in the last couple rows when they said ‘fasten your seat belts.’ And then they said for the flight attendants to get to their seats, and they didn’t even have time. It started shaking, then it took a big drop. Babies screaming, people in front of us hitting the ceiling.”

Another passenger described the incident as a sudden “lurch” downward as opposed to a prolonged freefall.

“I was looking forward and I just saw everything just move upwards about four feet. So I saw drinks, you know, flying up against walls and up on the ceiling,” New York City resident Alex Ehmke told NBC News. “The gentleman directly behind us and diagonally behind us hit the ceiling.”

Jessica Huseman, a ProPublica national politics reporter, described the incident as it was happening by posting on Twitter.

“Turbulence on flight was so insane and unexpected,” she posted. “A flight attendant dislocated his shoulder.”

A total of 299 people were onboard the flight — 287 passengers and 12 crew members.

“We are taking care of our passengers and our crew members at this time and want to thank our team members for keeping our passengers safe,” American Airlines said in a statement.

In 2016, the FAA said turbulence caused 44 injuries — more than double the 21 reported in 2015.


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