Turbulence injures 37 on Air Canada flight to Sydney

At least 37 people have been injured on board an Air Canada flight that hit severe turbulence and had to make an emergency landing.

The plane – carrying 284 passengers and crew – was travelling from Vancouver to Sydney but was diverted to Hawaii.

Thirty people were taken to hospital in Honolulu on Thursday. Nine had severe injuries, officials say.

Air Canada said the Boeing 777-200 jet “encountered sudden clear air turbulence… two hours past Hawaii”.

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It added that it was arranging hotels in Honolulu until a new flight to Australia could be arranged.

The plane landed in Hawaii at 06:46 local time (16:46 GMT) on Thursday.

“We hit turbulence and we all hit the roof, and everything fell down… people went flying,” Jess Smith, a passenger on board the flight, told local TV station KHON.

“Some people that weren’t strapped in, you saw them rise in the air and hit their heads on the roof and everything, so it was quite intense,” another passenger told the station.

Alex Macdonald, from Brisbane, told Canadian broadcaster CBC News the passengers on board were “extremely shocked”.

“I saw the people ahead of me hitting the overhead baggage compartments and then just slamming back into their seats,” she added.

Emergency workers assist passengers on Air Canada flight AC33 after it was diverted to Hawaii


CAT – clear air turbulence – occurs in otherwise calm, clear blue skies, without any visual indication such as clouds.

It is caused when masses of air moving at different speeds meet, and can’t be identified by the naked eye or conventional radar.

Pilots use reports from other aircraft, passed on via air traffic control, to keep track of patches of CAT.

Passengers have reported the cabin being bloodied and dented from passengers hitting the ceiling of the aircraft.

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