HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Air Canada flight was forced to divert to Honolulu on Thursday morning due to “severe clear air” turbulence that injured dozens of people, officials said.
Air Canada flight 33 — flying from Vancouver to Sydney — was about two hours past the Hawaiian Islands when it experienced “un-forecasted” and “sudden” turbulence, forcing it to divert back to Honolulu, according to Air Canada officials.
The plane landed at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport around 6:45 a.m. Hawaii time, according to the airport duty manager.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon featuring representatives from multiple agencies that responded to the incident, it was revealed that 37 people suffered injuries in the incident.
30 of those who were injured were transported to area hospitals. Of the 30, nine were reported to have suffered serious injuries.
Australian passenger Erica Daly says she, like many, was asleep when the turbulence hit.
She says she flew out of ther seat, hit the ceiling hard, then landed on her arm rest.
“I’ve got whiplash in my neck, I’ve got three stitches in my head where I’ve got a gouge. I’ve got a cut on my knee, a cut on my shoulder, and just pain down one side of my body,” Daly said.
The remaining 21 individuals were listed as being in stable condition.
Michael Bailey, a passenger on board the plane, said there was a lot of screaming and panic when it all happened.
“All of a sudden, the plane dropped,” Bailey said. “Must’ve dropped about 100 feet or something because we all went up to the ceiling like throughout the plane. It was pretty scary."
He added, “The seat in front of me, the girl hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped and broke it, and the oxygen masks came down, and a lot of panic."
There were nearly 270 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Air Canada is making overnight arrangements for the passengers on the flight. A representative for the airline said they planned to leave Honolulu to continue their trip to Sydney at 12 p.m. Friday.