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Big jolt! Ultra-turbulence sends 10 to hospital

August 8, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Three passengers and seven crew members have been hospitalised after an American Airlines long-haul international flight slammed into extreme turbulence, sending flight attendants flying along with the drinks they were serving.

Airborne coffee hit the ceiling with such force it managed to penetrate the overhead lighting.

American Airlines flight AA 759 from Athens to Philadelphia, operated with an A330-300, was descending towards Philadelphia near Long Island when the whole aircraft lurched violently. The plane seemed to plunge suddenly, dropping over a metre and sending drinks bouncing off the ceiling. The liquid then came down and drenched passengers. Cabin crew took off along with the drinks.

A passenger told US news media he recalled an announcement urging passengers to fasten their seat belts. Then, wham!

Coffee lodges behind lights

Passengers said the jolt was preceded by a slight shaking, nothing particularly unusual – but then it built up, spilling drinks and causing unease.

Next, a passenger told NBC News, everything in his field of vision hurtled upwards over a metre in the air and “it felt like the whole plane was in free fall”.

Other passengers recalled screaming, babies crying and flying liquids, according to a vivid report in the Washington Post.

The captain apologised for what American Airlines and the US Federal Aviation Administration later described as “severe turbulence” of unknown origin.

After a safe landing at Philadelphia International Airport, paramedics were standing by.

“We want to thank our team members for taking care of our customers,” American said in an issued statement.

Written by Peter Needham

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