Air Canada flight turbulence injures 21 passengers

An Air Canada plane flying from Shanghai to Toronto was forced to make an emergency landing in Calgary, after 21 passengers were injured during severe turbulence over Alaska.

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The airline said 21 passengers, including three children, were transported to a Calgary hospital Wednesday afternoon. It said eight people sustained non-life threatening injuries and 13 were sent “for observation.”

Some of those passengers were released from hospital by Wednesday evening, according to Air Canada.

Passenger Connie Gelber described the turbulence as “unbearable” and said it was a reminder of the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

“The girl beside me, she was thrown right out of her seat, down the aisle,” Gelber said. “We thought we were dying.”

Fellow passenger Liam Burlock described the experience as “like a rollercoaster.” He said some passengers were hurt by flying baggage.

The Transportation Safety Board said it sent a team of investigators to the Calgary airport to “gather information and assess the occurrence.”

Flight AC88 was travelling from Shanghai’s Pudong International airport to Toronto Pearson International Airport and was scheduled to land at 6:45 p.m. EST.

The flight touched down in Calgary at 3:23 p.m. local time instead.

The airline was rebooking Toronto-bound passengers on another flight.

The Boeing 777-300ER was carrying 332 passengers and 19 crew members, according to Air Canada.

“Our focus today has been on those passengers who have been injured in this incident and those other passengers on the aircraft for whom this has been a very unsettling experience,” Klaus Goersch, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.

“Safety is always our first priority and so any incident involving the safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost concern.”

Injured passengers being stretchered out of airport.

— Rahim Ladhani (@RLadhaniCTV) December 30, 2015


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