- JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images
- An Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney hit unexpected severe turbulence early Thursday morning, leaving 37 people on board injured.
- The flight, AC33, diverted to Honolulu, Hawaii.
- A representative for the airline described the injuries as “minor.”
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An Air Canada flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Honolulu early Thursday morning after it encountered severe turbulence that left about 37 people injured.
The flight, AC33, was traveling from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, when it hit the unforecasted patch of rough air approximately 1,000 miles southwest of the Hawaii, according to Air Canada. The Associated Press reported that the turbulence was severe enough to cause 37 injuries, nine of which were considered serious.
“The plane just dropped,” passenger Stephanie Beam told AP. “When we hit turbulence, I woke up and looked over to make sure my kids were buckled. The next thing I knew there’s just literally bodies on the ceiling of the plane.”
The flight landed safely at Honolulu’s Daniel K Inouye International Airport at around 12:45 p.m. ET, or 6:45 a.m. Hawaiian time. More than two dozen were taken to hospitals upon landing, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright, with injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to neck and back pain.
A representative for the airport deferred comment to Air Canada.
It was not immediately clear whether the Air Canada 777-200 aircraft, which had 269 passengers and 15 crew members on board, sustained any damage. However, modern commercial aircraft are built and tested to withstand virtually any possible degree of inflight turbulence.
While turbulence is becoming more common as a result of climate change, severe turbulence and associate injuries are extremely rare. In 2017, there were 17 reported injuries caused by turbulence, according ot the Federal Aviation Administration.
Business Insider reporter Lauren Frias contributed to this report.