Shocked passengers described being tossed around an Air Canada passenger jet as it hit a pocket of turbulence on its way to Australia yesterday and was forced to make an emergency landing.
"Sitting in front of me the girl hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped it and broke it".
Of the 37 passengers and flight crew members injured, nine had serious injuries, emergency responders said.
Passengers said the turbulence hit without warning about four hours into the flight, when most people were sleeping.
The carrier's initial reports were of 25 people with minor injuries.The turbulence happened at 10,000 metres about 966km southwest of Honolulu, US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. Most were to passengers' necks and backs, and some suffered cuts on their heads.
"It could have been a lot worse", she said.
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"It just seemed that the plane just sank and then flew up", said passenger Sharon Thornton. "All were caused by people not being buckled into their seats when the plane hit unsafe weather conditions".
Babies and children were crying as crew members went through the cabin assessing injuries.
Air Canada was arranging hotel accommodation and meals in Honolulu and options for resuming the flight, Mah said.
Flight AC33 departed Vancouver International Airport late Wednesday night bound for Sydney with 269 passengers and crew onboard.
All customers except one had now left the hospital, while the remaining person was also expected to be released, a spokesperson for Air Canada said later on Thursday.
Passengers getting up for the washroom and flight attendants starting to serve refreshments were violently knocked about, she said.