'Severe Turbulence' Experienced on Flight From Greece to Philadelphia, 10 Injured

Ten people were injured after an American Airlines flight from Athens, Greece, experienced "severe turbulence" prior to landing at Philadelphia International Airport Saturday.

[[438781513, C]]

Three passengers and seven crew members on American Airlines flight 759 from Athens to Philadelphia were taken to the hospital upon landing, American Airlines said in a statement. The fasten seatbelt sign was on at the time of the turbulence, according to the airline.

A passenger described the incident to NBC News as a sudden "lurch" downward as opposed to a prolonged freefall.

"I was looking forward and I just saw everything just move upwards about four feet. So I saw drinks, you know, flying up against walls and up on the ceiling," Alex Ehmke told NBC News. "The gentleman directly behind us and diagonally behind us hit the ceiling himself."

After the sudden drop, he said, "then we were cruising again."

Jessica Huseman, a reporter, tweeted from aboard the plane about her experience.

[[438766803, C]]

Ervin Fang, another passenger on the flight, told NBC10 the turbulence hit about 35 to 40 minutes before the plane was scheduled to land in Philadelphia. Fang said he felt a "big bump, like a big jump" that sent drinks splattering on the ceiling and floor of the plane.

"Wine bottles, soda cans, other debris and trash were scattered across the floor," Fang said.

Fang said the turbulence lasted about five to ten minutes but felt much longer.

"I travel often but I never experienced turbulence like this," he said. "It felt like if it continued any longer the plane would crack...it would crash."

Fang, who is a physician from Los Angeles, said he assisted a flight attendant who suffered a shoulder injury. He also said he saw a few passengers with ice bags on top of their heads.

The crew reported the turbulence while flying over the North Atlantic Ocean, according to the FAA. The flight landed safely at 3:10 p.m. The plane remained on the tarmac for about 40 minutes after landing so that EMS could respond, according to Fang.

"We are taking care of our passengers and our crew members at this time and want to thank our team members for keeping our passengers safe," an American Airlines spokesperson wrote.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Theil shared photos of the fire department's response to the airport.

There was no word on the severity of injuries suffered, but American Airlines reported those going to the hospital were transported "for evaluation."

In 2016, there were a total of 44 injuries reported during turbulence. Thirty-three of the injuries were to passengers and 11 were to crew members, according to the FAA.

[[375690231, C]]

Contact Us