On most flights, turbulence is a minor inconvenience. You have to return to your seat and buckle in, and you may have to wait a little longer to get your next vodka and cranberry (oh, is it just me that needs a cocktail, or three, to relax on a plane?). Planes are generally able to avoid the worst of the bumps, thanks to radar and reports from other planes in the area. But sometimes, turbulence strikes seemingly out of the blue, and that may be when it is the most dangerous.
This could be what happened on Continental Flight 128, which hit severe turbulence on its way from Brazil to Houston and was forced to make an emergency landing in Miami early on Monday. The plane encountered the turbulence just northwest of Puerto Rico and landed at Miami shortly after 5:30 a.m.
The turbulence was so rough that it catapulted passengers from their seats, slamming them into luggage bins and bashing their heads into overhead seat controls, cracking the panels and breaking glass in the reading lamps. 26 people were injured. Four of the injuries were reported as serious and 14 people were taken to the hospital.
Passengers stated that the turbulence didn’t last very long, and that after it had passed everyone remained calm. There’s no word yet on what exactly caused the turbulence, but the FAA is investigating.
[via ABC News]