DENVER (AP) — The government on Wednesday began investigating how a United Airlines jetliner hit severe turbulence on a cross-country flight over Kansas, injuring at least 22 and jolting one woman out of her seat so forcefully that she left a crack when she hit the side of the cabin, authorities and a witness said.
The Tuesday flight was the airline’s third this year during which passengers were hurt because of turbulence.
The flight originated at Washington Dulles International Airport and was headed to Los Angeles. It was diverted to Denver International Airport, where it landed safely around 7:45 p.m. and was met by medical crews, Denver Fire Department spokesman Eric Tade said.
There were conflicting reports on injuries. Denver Health Medical Center said a total of 21 people were taken to five hospitals, and one other person was treated at the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration said earlier that 30 were injured, one critically, but Denver Health officials said they had no record of anyone in critical condition.
At least 19 were released from hospitals by Wednesday morning, including a 12-year-old. Eleven had neck and back injuries. Hospitals declined to release the nature of the other injuries.
United spokesman Mike Trevino said four flight attendants were among the injured, but he had no other details.
Mr. Trevino said some of the passengers were placed on another plane with a new crew and left Denver on Tuesday night.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, board spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said. FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said the incident would be a “front-burner item” for both the FAA and the NTSB.
Flight 967 was flying over Kansas at an altitude of about 34,000 feet when it hit the heavy turbulence, Mr. Fergus said. It was carrying 255 passengers and 10 crew members.
Miss Bechaz told the Denver Post that the woman sitting next to her hit her head on the side of the cabin, leaving a crack above the window, and a girl across the aisle flew into the air and hit the ceiling.
Miss Bechaz said she wasn’t thrown around because her seat belt was tight.
The crew decided land the Boeing 777 in Denver to tend to the injured, United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.View Entire Story
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