An Air Canada flight bound for Australia was forced to emergency land in Hawaii after extreme ‘sudden’ turbulence injured over 30 passengers, throwing some out of their seats with such force that they hit the ceiling.
Air Canada Flight 33 was carrying nearly 300 passengers from Vancouver to Sydney on Thursday when it encountered ‘un-forecasted and sudden turbulence’ about two hours past Hawaii, according to Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah.
Approximately 35 people sustained minor injuries in the turbulence that shook the plane at 36,000 feet in the air, about 600 miles southwest of Honolulu.
At least nine of those passengers were taken to area hospitals, most of the injuries ranging from concussions to head or neck injuries as a result of being thrown out of their seats in the tumult.
The Boeing 777-200 plane took off from Vancouver Intentional Airport at 12:33am Pacific Standard time and landed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu around 6.45am Hawaii Standard time.
According to Flight Aware, the flight passed the island but returned after hitting the disrupted skies.
By the time the plane landed, emergency responders were on the scene to meet the aircraft at the gate and tend to the 269 passengers and 15 crew members.
It wasn’t immediately available what kinds of injuries were sustained.
Some of the injured were seen arriving to Queens Medical Center, one with a neck brace.
‘All of a sudden, the plane dropped. Must’ve dropped about 100 feet or something because we all went up to the ceiling like throughout the plane. It was pretty scary,’ passenger Michael Bailey said to Hawaii News Now.
‘The seat in front of me, the girl hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped and broke it, and the oxygen masks came down, and a lot of panic,’ he added.
‘It was like a scene from a movie. It was really traumatic,’ another passenger Lachlan Coffee said to CTVNews, adding he feared to the plane would crash.
Two of the injured passengers did not have seat belts on. Several flight attendants were also injured, one of whom was reportedly hit by a rolling cart.
Two of the injured included pregnant women – one was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown into the air.
All of the 269 passengers were given hotel accommodations and meals in Honolulu by Air Canda and offered options for resuming the flight, Mah said.
There were also 15 crew members on board.