Six passengers were hurt when an Orlando-bound US Airways flight encountered severe turbulence shortly after taking off from Philadelphia Sunday afternoon. The flight returned to Philadelphia after the incident.
Flight 735 Passengers on the flight tell The Philadelphia Inquirer the turbulence lasted for 5 to 10 seconds, rocking the Airbus A330 side to side about 20 minutes after takeoff. There were 265 passengers and 10 crew on the flight, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Mark Pensiero, a passenger on the flight, tells the Inquirer it if felt like he his seat suddenly dropped and that his seat belt was the only thing holding him in place.
"It was a crazy experience," passenger Victoria Rains adds to CBS 6 of Philadelphia. "We were just up in the air, like, lifted out of our seats, seeing things flying all over the place. I got sick from it. ... It was really scary. It was a terrifying experience."
After the flight returned to Philadelphia, passenger Pensiero tells the Inquirer he saw one passenger being taken away on a stretcher and another – a flight attendant – wearing a neck brace.
Overall, four passengers and two flight attendants reported injuries, according to The Associated Press. Five of those were hospitalized, though none of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening. The two attendants had been discharged by Sunday evening, according to Reuters.
US Airways spokesman Bill McGlashen says the turbulence occurred at around 17,000 feet and that the captain still had the seatbelt sign on.
Airport spokeswoman Stacy Jackson tells AP that the Flight 735 passengers who wished to continue to on to Florida were put on another flight that took off about around 9 p.m. ET. That flight landed in Orlando about five hours behind schedule at 11:07 p.m. ET, according to US Airways' website.
The incident is a reminder unexpected and sudden turbulence can be a threat to fliers, especially those who are not buckled in.
USA TODAY reminds in this story from September 2012 that "air-safety analysts warn that wind turbulence — which can bounce a plane dozens of feet while landing or taking off and hundreds of feet while cruising — lingers as a rare but real way of getting hurt when flying. About a dozen people suffer serious injuries in the air each year because of turbulence."
The US Airways incident follows several similar incidents in recent months. Among those that have been picked up by the media:
March 16, 2014: Passengers on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Edmonton, Canada, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, got an unexpected day in a Montana airport terminal after their flight diverted there because of extreme turbulence. A flight attendant was injured after receiving a cut on his head.
Feb. 18, 2014: At least nine passengers and crewmembers were injured when a Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight from San Francisco hit severe turbulence over Japan, the airline said.
Feb 17, 2014: United Airlines Flight 1676 from Denver to Billings hit turbulence so severe that people were tossed from their seats. Three flight attendants and two passengers were injured.
Oct. 20, 2013: Several passengers on a trans-Atlantic United Airlines flights were injured after the Dublin-bound Boeing 757 encountered "severe turbulence."