Flight forced to land in Florida following injuries

  • Incident occurred on an Allegiant Air flight from Punta Cana to Pittsburgh
  • Four flight attendants and three passengers were taken to hospital
  • One passenger said she had other travelers' blood on her feet
  • Another was too scared to fly home and planned to drive 17 hours 

Terrified passengers said they feared the worst when an Allegiant Air flight hit severe turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean, throwing some travelers out of their seats.

At least seven people were taken to hospital after the Pittsburgh-bound flight from the Dominican Republic was forced to make an emergency landing in Fort Lauderdale.

Four flight attendants and three passengers suffered injuries that ranged from cuts and bruises to head trauma, but they weren’t considered life-threatening, said emergency officials.

An Allegiant Airlines plane flying from the Dominican Republic to Pittsburgh was forced to make an emergency landing in Fort Lauderdale after it his severe turbulence, injuring seven people 

An Allegiant Airlines plane flying from the Dominican Republic to Pittsburgh was forced to make an emergency landing in Fort Lauderdale after it his severe turbulence, injuring seven people 

Passengers on board the plane described feeling a large jolt that threw those on board out of their seats, causing injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to head trauma 

Passengers on board the plane described feeling a large jolt that threw those on board out of their seats, causing injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to head trauma 

There were 137 passengers and six crew members on board when flight 7001 from Punta Cana encountered ‘unreported moderate clear air turbulence’, the Las Vegas-based airline told reporters.

Passenger Heather Osborne told Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE-TV that she was asleep when the mid-air drama unfolded on flight 7001 on Thursday afternoon.

She said: ‘We were flying normal, I was actually sleeping, and all of a sudden I heard a little jolt and then all of a sudden a big jolt and I looked over and my mom was flying up in the air.

‘I actually had my seatbelt on, my mom didn’t, but I saw her flying in the air. She hit her head and hit her hip area.’

Passenger Amanda Kuhn, who suffered bruises, added: ‘I have people’s blood on my feet. The flight attendants were injured and nobody could help them so I just ran up and got ice and paper towels.

Passenger Amanda Kuhn said other people's blood ended up splashing on to her feet during the turbulence, which two nurses on board had to treat the wounded air crew

Passenger Amanda Kuhn said other people's blood ended up splashing on to her feet during the turbulence, which two nurses on board had to treat the wounded air crew

In total seven people, including four members of the air crew, were injured after the plane hit severe turbulence

In total seven people, including four members of the air crew, were injured after the plane hit severe turbulence

‘There were two nurses on the flight. The two nurses came back and attended to the flight attendants and my father.’

HOW DANGEROUS IS TURBULENCE?

Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author, said: 'During turbulence, the pilots are not fighting the controls.

'Planes are designed with what we call positive stability, meaning that when nudged from their original point in space, by their nature they wish to return there.

'The best way of handling rough air is to effectively ride it out, hands-off. Some autopilots have a turbulence mode that desensitizes the system, to avoid over-controlling.

'It can be uncomfortable, but the jet is not going to flip upside down.

'For what it's worth, thinking back over the whole history of modern commercial aviation, I cannot recall a single jetliner crash caused by turbulence, strictly speaking.

'Airplanes are engineered to withstand an extreme amount of stress, and the amount of turbulence required to, for instance, tear off a wing, is far beyond anything you'll ever experience.'

The plane was rocked by turbulence as it flew over the ocean east of the Bahamas, the Aviation Herald reported.

Passenger Malachi Witt, who returning from a holiday with his wife, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he feared the plane would crash.

‘I thought, “The plane’s going down and I’m going to die”. It was like the plane’s falling out of the sky,' he said.

Witt, who was wearing his seatbelt and was not hurt, said some of the injured appeared to have hit their heads and some were bleeding.

He told the newspaper he and his wife planned to rent a car and drive almost 17 hours because they did not want to get back on a plane.

The Airbus A319 was on a charter flight operated on behalf of Apple Vacations and it was met by paramedics and firefighters when it arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Several people were wearing neck braces and appeared to have facial injuries when they arrived at Broward Health Medical Center for treatment.

After the plane landed it was taken out of service and inspected.

Those who were able or willing to continue the journey home were put on a different plane and flown back to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Earlier this week, passengers on board an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta prayed aloud and screamed in horror as it was rocked by extreme turbulence.

While some passengers were pictured being taken to hospital wearing neck braces after the flight landed, none of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening, paramedics said 

While some passengers were pictured being taken to hospital wearing neck braces after the flight landed, none of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening, paramedics said 

Video captured by a passenger shows travelers praying, hugging, throwing their arms in the air and wailing as the plane violently shakes in the air.

More than 30 people were injured and, of those, at least 10 were transported to hospital to be treated for injuries including broken bones.

Photos showed food strewn across the floor, cracks in the ceiling and panels that came loose. 

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