A JetBlue flight bound for Sacramento from Boston encountered severe turbulence Thursday that sent objects, passengers, and flight attendants flying through the cabin, resulting in 24 people needing treatment for injuries. As the Sacramento Bee reports, the flight had to be diverted due to weather to Rapid City, South Dakota, where it landed at 7:30 p.m.
Per the Boston Globe, flight 429 took off from Logan Airport in Boston at 5:25 p.m., and all was fairly normal on the flight until a "sudden drop" occurred. Dr. Alan H. Lee, an orthopedic surgeon, wrote in to the paper to describe the experience, which involved the kind of crazy turbulence flight attendants warn you about when they tell you to fasten your seatbelt.
"I was working on my laptop when the plane suddenly dropped,” Lee wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. “I don’t know how far it dropped, but all I recall is my laptop almost hit the ceiling, several other passengers hit their heads, and a bunch of the overhead bins popped open."
According to Lee, the sudden drop in altitude was what caused all of the injuries.
“People were flying all over the place,” Lee said. “If people weren’t wearing their seatbelt, they hit their head on the ceiling.”
Another passenger on the flight, Rhonda Lynam told ABC News, "People were floating. All of a sudden, it was as if you're on an elevator, 50 stories high, and it goes out of control. Then you hit the bottom."
Yet another passenger, Eileen Lynch, told Reuters, "I felt like I was in the tower of terror."
Two of the 24 people injured were flight attendants, and Lee says he helped attend to one of the injured flight attendants after the crew issued a call for medical help. He told the Globe that three flight attendants standing in the rear galley of the plane all hit the ceiling, causing at least one hole in a ceiling tile. He described most of the injuries as "moderate lacerations and contusions."
The plane landed safely in South Dakota and passengers then had to wait up to six hours for a replacement plane to be flown in from California, which they then boarded and flew to Sacramento.
JetBlue issued an apology to Flight 429's passengers Friday morning, according to the Globe, saying that all passengers would receive "a service credit in the amount of the roundtrip fare paid (excluding taxes and fees) or $200 whichever is greater."