AT least 35 passengers were left with head and neck injuries after smashing against the plane’s roof on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney.
The flight was forced to land at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu on Thursday after the plane faced severe turbulence over the Pacific Ocean.
Nine of the 35 injured passengers were transported to hospitals soon after landing.
Passenger Michael Bailey told Hawaii News Now: “It was pretty quick. And a lot of people hit the ceiling.
“A lot of screaming. In the seat in front of me, the girl hit her head, and actually snapped and broke it (the ceiling compartment).
“It was scary for a brief moment, and then the plane levelled out.”
The flight, which was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members, was about two hours past Hawaii when it hit “unforecasted and sudden turbulence,” according to the airline.
Members of an Australian band were returning home on the flight after performance, which saw one of their band members injured.
Passenger Tim Tricky told Montreal CTV News: “It started get a little bit rocky, so I thought I’d better buckle up, and then about five seconds later, you just watch everyone’s head in a plane who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt hit the roof like a jack-in-a-box.
“It was pretty scary to see. One of our band members, our mate, he smacked it really hard and put a massive dent in the luggage compartment.”
The plane was flying at 36,000ft and was about 600 miles southwest of Hawaii’s capital Honolulu during the ordeal, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration.
He told The Canadian Press that medical staff were at the gate to tend to the injured.
In a statement, the airline said: “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.
“We are currently making arrangements for the passengers including hotel accommodations and meals in Honolulu, as well as options for resumption of the flight.”
More to come…