An Air Canada jet hit a pocket of turbulence on its way to Australia on Thursday, and was forced to make an emergency landing. Flight AC33 from Vancouver to Sydney experienced turbulence about two hours from Hawaii and was diverted back to Honolulu, AFP reported quoting a company statement.
Though the jet landed normally, around 35 people seemed to have suffered minor injuries, the statement added. “We all hit the roof, and everything fell down... people went flying,” passenger Jess Smith told a local television station. Hawaii News Now reported that 30 of the wounded passengers were shifted to hospitals in the nearby areas. Nine of the 30 had serious injuries, the daily said.
“Some people that weren’t strapped in, you saw them rise in the air and hit their heads on the roof... it was quite intense,” passenger Fais Asad said.
“We just hit turbulence pretty quick,” passenger Michael Bailey said, according to CNN. “Lots of people hit the ceiling, lots of screaming.”
The flight carried 269 passengers and 15 crew members. It hit “unforecasted and sudden turbulence” at a height of 36,000 feet and 600 miles southwest of Honolulu. “Our first priority is always the safety of our flights, passengers and crew and as a precaution, medical personnel are on standby to examine passengers in Honolulu,” the airline said.