07/21/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
Denver, CO—Mid-flight turbulence was deemed the culprit responsible for the injuries of at least 25 people aboard a United Airlines flight Tuesday, July 20, 2010. While the plane was headed from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, CA at the time, it was diverted to a Denver airport after the chaotic episode occurred, according to information provided by the Denver Post.
Reports indicated Flight 967, a Boeing 777 aircraft, was en route to Los Angeles when it experienced severe turbulence. According to a 19-year-old Australian passenger aboard the jet, identified only as Bechaz, the plane hit minor turbulence before the pilot asked to be diverted to Denver International Airport (DIA).
“It was no big deal… Then we hit a huge one… It was a bit of blur. People were screaming and yelling,” Bechaz explained. The pilot subsequently contacted high-altitude air traffic controllers from a Kansas City Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facility to request a diversion at DIA.
Upon landing at DIA at 7:39 p.m., injured passengers and crew members were taken to a makeshift triage to receive preliminary treatment for their injuries. Denver Health Medical Center reported 21 people were rushed to hospitals as a result of the rough turbulence.
Such hospitals included Aurora South Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, as well as the University of Colorado Hospital. According to Denver Fire Department spokesperson Eric Tade, “There are mostly walking injuries.” However, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said one person was in critical condition after the in-flight disturbance.
A separate United Airlines flight carrying passengers from the turbulence-plagued flight departed from DIA and was heading towards Los Angeles around 9:30, according to United spokesperson Michael Trevino.
The plane was transported to a hangar after the incident to be inspected.
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