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Mr. Trevino said he did not know where in Kansas the plane hit turbulence, but the National Weather Service said a line of strong thunderstorms extended from the middle of Missouri through the middle of Kansas on Tuesday evening. Thunderstorms, with updrafts of up to 100 mph, can cause bumpy rides for airplanes as they pass from an area of calm air to churning air, much like a speed boat hitting choppy waters, said Chad Gimmestad, a weather service meteorologist in Boulder, Colo.

Mr. Gimmestad said forecasters can’t predict where those bumps will occur, so airliners generally try to fly around such storms.

The website, which uses information from the FAA to track the path of aircraft, shows that the United jet flew south of a storm in Missouri and Kansas.

The plane entered Kansas about 90 miles south of Kansas City and flew for about 160 miles across the southeast corner of the state before crossing into Oklahoma. FlightAware’s map shows the plane was about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City when it turned northwest toward Denver.

Tim Smith of Boulder was on United Flight 937, which also flew into Denver from Washington on Tuesday and landed after the diverted plane. He said his flight was delayed because of thunderstorms but didn’t have any problems.

Mr. Smith saw ambulances and police cars surrounding a gate on the tarmac and one person on a stretcher when his plane taxied to the gate.

“Thank God I wasn’t on that flight,” Mr. Smith said.

In February, about 20 people were hurt when a United flight with 263 people onboard experienced turbulence halfway through a 13-hour trip from Washington to Tokyo.

In May, 10 people suffered injuries, including broken bones, on a United flight that hit severe turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean on its way from London to Los Angeles. The Boeing 777 was diverted to Montreal.

Associated Press writers Judith Kohler, Thomas Peipert, Dan Elliott and Colleen Slevin in Denver; Joan Lowy in Washington; and Denise Petski in Los Angeles contributed to this report.