Virgin Plane Hits Unexpected Turbulence, Sends Passengers Flying

by Libby Zay 
Posted Feb 1st 2011 12:55 PMUpdated Feb 1st 2011 02:28 PM

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A Virgin Blue plane hit unexpected turbulence while the seatbelt sign was turned off, injuring four people and shaking up the rest of the 361 passengers on board.

Australia's The Age reports the crew had just served dinner on the Melbourne-bound flight from Thailand when the plane "plunged," showering passengers with food and throwing crewmembers around the cabin.

"It was pretty much mayhem. Meals were flying everywhere, people were launching out of their seats," passenger and journalist Lyall Johnson tells the news outlet.

Johnson says during the bumpy ordeal his drink hit the roof and a flight attendant wrestled with the food cart before it fell over, pinning a crewmember underneath. A flight attendant told Johnson the flight was the bumpiest she had experienced in her 12-year career.

Michelle Baghdassarian, a mother who was traveling with her three small children, tells the Herald Sun she had to hold her children down in their seats to keep them from flying around the cabin.

"They may try and say it was turbulence but something was wrong," says Baghdassarian.

"We weren't just going down. The plane was nosediving," she continues.

Surprised passengers had no clue what caused the rough ride. One passenger said the plane lurched forward so hard it felt as if it was landing, while another passenger was scared a volcano erupted nearby and the plane was somehow jolted by the blast.

"The plane dropped and I think everyone's reaction was 'game over'," one passenger onboard the flight tells a local news channel in a video interview.

"I was pretty scared I was going to die," admits his traveling companion.

Once turbulence calmed, passengers pulled together with the crew to clean up the mess with airline blankets.

Colin Lippiatt, a spokesman for the airline confirmed passengers on board the flight "suffered minor injuries," calling the turbulence "moderate." Lippiatt tells The Age the plane was not damaged.

Paramedics met the plane as it landed in Melbourne just before 8am local time. All injured travelers -- two passengers and two crewmembers, including the one who fell victim to the food cart and another whose head was struck -- were assessed. No one onboard had severe enough injuries to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Earlier reports of food poisoning on the flight proved incorrect.



Photo, Simon_sees, flickr
Filed Under: News

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