A flight bound for Sydney was forced to make an emergency landing in Hawaii after encountering severe turbulence that left at least 35 passengers wounded.
Flight number 33, which was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members, was around two hours past Hawaii and flying at an altitude of 36,000 feet when the frightening incident occurred. As a result, the flight was diverted to Honolulu, with the Federal Aviation Administration confirming it landed at around 6.45am local time.
Speaking to Hawaii News Now, passenger Michael Bailey said there was a lot of screaming when the plane began to plummet with some people even launching out of their seats and hitting the ceiling of the aircraft.
“All of a sudden the plane dropped,” he told the news outlet. “Must’ve dropped about 100 feet or something because we all went up to the ceiling like throughout the plane. It was pretty scary.”
Michael added: “The seat in front of me, the girl hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped and broke it and the oxygen masks came down and a lot of panic.”
Meanwhile, another passenger Lachlan Coffee told CTV News: “It was like a scene from a movie. It was really traumatic.”
The publication reports two of the injured passengers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the incident while a number of flight attendants were also injured with one hit by a rolling cart as the plane plummeted.
“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 in a statement according to CNN.
Upon landing in Hawaii’s Honolulu, the passengers were reportedly provided with accommodation and meals by Air Canada with flights to the original destination of Sydney also being offered.