Heavy turbulence injured dozens of people towards the end of a flight from Istanbul to New York.
Turkish Airlines has confirmed that a flight from Istanbul to New York encountered “unusual turbulence” about 40 minutes before landing at JFK on Saturday afternoon while passing over Maine.
Emergency crews in 12 ambulances rushed to the Boeing 777, which was carrying 326 passengers and 18 crew members, after it landed in New York at 17.35 local time.
The crew had declared an emergency while the plane was still in the air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
More than 30 people were treated at JFK Airport, while others were taken to nearby medical centres. A flight attendant suffered a broken leg.
“Flying on the plane”
Almost everyone on board went to the hospital with bumps, bruises and cuts, according to Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“Nobody announced it or anything like that so we figured out something was wrong,” passenger Sead Nikaj told ABC News. “Then I see people start flying on the plane. Then seeing blood all over.”
Another passenger, Amir Mehrbakhsh, recalled: “There was like one or two seconds when it was subtle but then it really started to pick up. Just because the drop was so sudden, a lot of people got lifted up and hit their head either on the ceiling or on the side of the plane, and so there were a lot of injuries pretty quickly.”
Turkish Airlines commented that it “is an airline whose top priority is safety and passenger well-being” and that it “is deeply saddened by this unfortunate experience, and closely monitors the health status of the injured passengers, and is making resources available to them.”