Turbulence is mostly harmless, just the wind making the aircraft move a little in the same way a car would shake on a bumpy road. But in this very rare scenario, turbulence resulted in the injury of dozens of passengers.
When an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, encountered unexpected severe turbulence, it was forced to make an emergency landing in Hawaii. Air Canada spokesperson Angela Mah said, “Current information indicates there are approximately 35 people who appear to have sustained minor injuries.”
The injuries include bumps, cuts, bruises, neck pain, and back pain, and those affected ranged from children to the elderly. Reports from passengers indicate that the turbulence threw people into the air, with some even hitting the ceiling. “We hit turbulence and we all hit the roof and everything fell down,” said passenger Jess Smith to CBC News, “and stuff…people went flying.”
According to the US Federal Aviation Administration, the turbulence occurred at 36,000 feet, about 620 miles southwest of Honolulu. It was so severe that oxygen masks were released and service carts were overturned.
This frightening incident is proof that the safety message that asks passengers to keep their seatbelt on at all times, even when the seatbelt light is off, is meant to keep everyone in the aircraft safe.