LONDON – A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix AZ to Honolulu has been hit by severe turbulence. At least 36 people have been injured, with 11 suffering serious injury. 20 people were taken to hospital.
The flight which took place on Sunday was full, and was carrying a complement of 278 passengers and 10 crew. The incident, which involved the scheduled flight HA35 in an Airbus A330-200 occurred approximately 30 minutes before landing in Honolulu (HNL).
The flight initiated a descent immediately following the encounter and flight crew declared an emergency.
Associated Press has reported that, according to Hawaiian Airlines chief operating officer Jon Snook, the in-flight incident was “isolated and unusual”.
Mr Snook said the airline has not experienced “an incident of this nature in recent history.” He said that 20 people were taken to hospital, including 11 deemed to be seriously injured.
Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Department has confirmed that 36 people received treatment – this also includes treatment for nausea or minor injuries.
Whilst the flight crew was aware of prevailing weather conditions, they reportedly were not aware that the airspace in which the incident occurred “was in any way dangerous”, according to Mr Snook.
Video footage which has surfaced on social media, presumably shot by passenger onboard the flight, shows damage to the aircraft’s cabin interior panelling.