Dozens injured as turbulence forces Air Canada flight to divert to Honolulu

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-12 05:54:55|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LOS ANGELES, July 11 (Xinhua) -- An Air Canada flight Thursday morning was forced to divert to Honolulu, capital of U.S. Hawaii, after suffering turbulence, local media reported, adding that dozens of people were injured in the incident.

According to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick, the Boeing 777-200 was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members, flying from Vancouver to Sydney. The local Hawaii News Now website reported the plane landed at the Honolulu's airport around 6:45 a.m. local time.

The plane had flown past Hawaii for two hours when it reported experiencing "un-forecasted" and "sudden" turbulence, then diverted back to Honolulu.

The turbulence happened at 36,000 feet (10,973 meters) about 600 miles (966 kilometers) southwest of Honolulu, said U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

Gregor said crewmembers asked for medical personnel to meet the plane at the gate.

Officials said at least 35 people suffered minor injuries, and nine of those individuals were being transported to the hospital after the plane landed.

Many of them received head and neck injuries, according to local media reports. Such injuries indicate that the passengers were basically flung out of their seats when the aircraft hit the "bumpy" spot above the Pacific.

Passengers recounted that the turbulence tossed people into the air, some hitting the ceiling of the plane.

"We hit turbulence and we all hit the roof and everything fell down, and stuff ... people went flying," passenger Jess Smith was quoted by local media as saying.

"I watched a whole bunch of people hit the ceiling of the plane," said another passenger Alex MacDonald. "A couple of the air hostesses were bringing food out at the time, and they hit the roof as well. But as a whole people seem to be OK; didn't seem to be any major injuries."

Air Canada was arranging hotel accommodations and meals in Honolulu and options for resuming the flight, said Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah.