HONOLULU (AP)–A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Sydney hit severe turbulence, leading to medical care for at least seven people on board.
The plane was carrying 163 passengers and 12 crew members when it encountered turbulence five hours into Thursday’s flight, officials told Hawaii News Now. The aircraft was inspected after landing safely in Sydney.
Four passengers and three flight attendants needed medical attention from a doctor who was on the flight, the Honolulu television station reported.
Airline representatives didn’t immediately return emails Monday seeking an update.
“The plane just dropped,” passenger Sultan Baskonyali told ABC News. “We weren’t prepared.”
She described one man shooting upward, hitting his head on the ceiling and dropping back down.
Last year, severe turbulence injured 25 people on board a Hawaiian Airlines flight. Four passengers and two crew members were seriously hurt. The plane sustained minor damage.
The captain of the Dec. 18 flight from Phoenix to Honolulu told investigators that conditions were smooth with clear skies when a cloud shot up in front of the plane, and that there was no time to change course, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Hawaiian Airlines Chief Operating Officer Jon Snook said at the time that such turbulence is unusual, noting that the airline had not experienced anything like it in recent history. The sign to fasten seat belts was on at the time, though some of the people injured were not wearing them, he said.
It happened about 40 minutes before landing in Honolulu, according to the NTSB report.