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Hawaiian Airlines passenger says her mom ‘flew up and hit the ceiling’ when the plane encountered ‘severe turbulence’ that left 36 people injured

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  • A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered “severe turbulence” on Sunday.
  • Local emergency services said at least 36 people were injured, 11 seriously.
  • A Hawaiian Airlines executive said the plane had struck a “rare” air pocket.

Dozens of people were injured on Sunday when a Hawaiian Airlines flight traveling from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered “severe turbulence,” officials said.

Hawaiian Airlines flight 35 experienced turbulence shortly before landing in Hawaii at around 10:50 a.m., the company confirmed in a statement to Insider. The airline said 13 passengers and three crew members were transported to the hospital, while several others with minor injuries were treated at the airport.

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At least 36 people were injured, 11 of which had serious injuries, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said. Injuries included head injuries, cuts, bruises, and nausea. One person was also knocked unconscious, the director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Jim Ireland, said at a press conference.

“The airline is supporting all affected passengers and employees and will provide additional information as it becomes available,” Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement.

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According to Jon Snook, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hawaiian Airlines, the “fasten seatbelt” sign was on when the turbulence occurred, HawaiiNewsNow reported. “Sometimes, these air pockets occur with no warning. It’s rare to have that level of extreme turbulence. It was a very extreme case of mid-air turbulence,” he said.

Photos and videos shared on social media showed a damaged ceiling in the plane cabin, as well as passengers being taken away from the airport by emergency services.

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One passenger told HNN that her mother had just sat down when the turbulence hit and as not yet buckled in: “She flew up and hit the ceiling.”

Another passenger, Jazmin Bitanga, told HNN that the plane experiences two “intense” altitude drops and that during one her boyfriend’s water bottle hit the ceiling so hard it caused a crack. She also said people around her were crying and bleeding.

Read the original article on Business Insider