At least 36 passengers were injured, 11 seriously, on a turbulent Hawaiian Airlines flight, resulting in an emergency landing.
On Sunday, Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 was flying from Phoenix, Arizona, to Honolulu, Hawaii.
The flight was scheduled to land at 11:05 AM local time and was anticipated to be a routine and enjoyable journey for the passengers aboard. Unfortunately, what they encountered instead was an unexpected bout of turbulence only half an hour before the plane was due to land.
Kaylee Reyes, one of the passengers on board, described how her mother had just settled into her seat and hadn't had a chance to buckle her seatbelt when the incident occurred. The "fasten seatbelt" alert was on at the time, indicating that conditions were possibly turbulent.
“She flew up and hit the ceiling,” Reyes told Hawaii News Now.
Jon Snook, the airline's Chief Operating Officer, held a press conference in which he reported that this particular flight carried 278 passengers and 10 crew members - a full load. He further revealed that this was the first incident of its kind that the airline had experienced in recent times.
Jim Ireland, the director of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, reported that a total of 36 individuals were treated for various ailments during the incident. Of these 36 people, 20 needed to be hospitalized - 11 out of which were deemed to be in serious condition.
"We are also very happy and we feel fortunate that there were not any deaths or other critical injuries. And we're also very hopeful that all will recover and make a full recovery," Ireland said.
Snook said there was some internal damage to the aircraft during the turbulence. The seatbelt sign was on at the time, though some of those injured weren't wearing their seatbelts, he said.