Dozens injured when Hawaiian Airlines flight hits severe turbulence, goes into nosedive

Frightening video footage of unexpected air turbulence during Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 has surfaced, showing terrified passengers as the crew appealed for medics to help in an incident that left 11 severely injured.

(Video Credit: TODAY)

The flight was headed from Phoenix, AZ to Honolulu, HI when thirty minutes outside its destination the plane hit a pocket of severe air turbulence with no warning. The aftermath of the terrifying episode showed not only injured passengers but damage inside the plane as well.

There were nearly 300 people on the flight. Thirty-six were injured, 11 severely. Passengers were traveling for the holidays and got a lot more than they bargained for when the plane hit turbulence, nosediving while sending passengers flying from their seats.

Afterward, passengers could be seen trying to secure their luggage that had fallen from overhead bins. Children cried loudly in the background as everyone tried to figure out what just happened.

A flight attendant can be heard on video appealing for help, “Ladies and gentlemen, attention onboard: do we have any trained medical personnel? Do we have any doctors, nurses, firefighters?”

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

Most of the injuries involved cuts, bumps, bruises, and some nausea. A number of passengers could be seen with blood dripping. Twenty were transported to hospitals when the flight landed.

“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,” Jim Ireland, who is the director of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said, according to the Daily Mail.

“Although initially, we thought there were some patients with critical injuries, after further assessment it turns out they weren’t that severely injured, which was great,” Ireland stated.

One of the passengers named Kaylee Reyes was on the plane with her mother, Tiffany Ann Reyes. The mother had just returned from the restroom when she was sent flying into the air.

Kaylee told Hawaii News Now, “The plane shook and then went into a sudden drop, kind of how you would if you were on a rollercoaster. My mom wasn’t buckled and she flew up and hit the ceiling, then hit the floor. There were several other people that hit their heads. When we landed, paramedics came and had to wheel people out. Quite a few people had lacerations on their heads and blood dripping down.”

Among those injured were reportedly flight attendants, a number of children, and a 14-month-old baby.

The plane was at 36,000 feet when it hit what was described as a “rare” pocket of turbulence.

The Airbus A330-200 began its descent immediately after experiencing turbulence and the crew declared an emergency due to the number of injuries on board. Traffic Control gave the flight priority to land.

Emergency services, including firefighters, ambulance crews, and the state Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team, were called to the airport in response to the “mass casualty emergency” that occurred approximately at 11 am.

During Sunday afternoon’s press conference, Jon Snook, the Chief Operating Officer of Hawaiian Airlines, expressed relief after the incident.

“Our flying procedures are built to avoid these things at all times and this is obviously an isolated incident. This is very regrettable and associated with the weather pattern that is coming through the islands. We don’t know the specifics of whether it happened during the descent or just before, but the seatbelt sign was on,” he commented.

(Video Credit: KHON2 News)

Snook, who has worked in the airline industry for almost 30 years, claimed it was the “worst case of turbulence” he had seen in seven years since he joined the airline.

“We fly through difficult weather all the time so it’s unfortunate that this happened today. We will work closely with the NTSB and help them with whatever they need to know. We will also examine the flight data recorder to determine exactly how much altitude was lost,” he concluded during the press conference.

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