The Charlotte Observer
A pocket of “extreme” turbulence injured 36 people on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Arizona, some seriously, officials reported.
The turbulence on Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35, an Airbus 330, was reported around 10:35 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, the Federal Aviation Administration told CNN. The flight, carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew, was 15 to 30 minutes away from landing in Honolulu when those on board were jolted.
The rough air spilled passengers from their seats, HawaiiNewsNow reported. Passenger Kaylee Reyes said her mother “flew up and hit the ceiling.”
“It felt like free-falling,” passenger Jacie Hayata-Ano told CNN
After the flight arrived at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at 10:50 a.m., 36 people were treated for injuries, HawaiiNewsNow reported. Eleven people, including a 14-month-old child, were hospitalized in serious condition.
Three crew members were among those injured, Jon Snook, Hawaiian Airlines executive vice president and chief operating officer, said at a news briefing.
In a statement, the airline said it is providing support to injured passengers and employees. The airplane will be fully inspected before returning to service.
The incident occurred at 36,000 feet just before the plane began to descend for landing, KITV reported.
“Sometimes, these air pockets occur with no warning,” Snook said at the briefing. “It’s rare to have that level of extreme turbulence. It was a very extreme case of mid-air turbulence.”
The crew asked passengers with medical training for help after the incident, CNN reported.
“I turned around and there was a couple of people bleeding and just bracing themselves,” passenger Jazmin Bitanga told HawaiiNewsNow. “Just all around me there were people crying.”
The FAA is investigating, KITV reported.