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36 people injured after ‘severe turbulence’ on Hawaiian Airlines

JetBlue Hawaiian Airkines
FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, icicles can be seen on a Hawaiian Airlines plane as others are de-iced in the background, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in Seattle. JetBlue Airways Corp. and Hawaiian Airlines have formed a partnership Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, that will allow passengers to fly on both carriers’ flights on a single ticket. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(HONOLULU, HI) – Dozens of people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu when the flight hit severe turbulence about 30 minutes before landing.

The incident, which took place Sunday, sent some passengers flying out of their seats.

According to reports, 36 people were injured, including 11 of them ‘seriously injured’.

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians treated patients for serious head injuries, cuts, bruises, nausea, and loss of consciousness.

Hawaiian Airlines said on Twitter that Flight 35 from Phoenix “landed safely” in Honolulu about 10:50 a.m., and that it was supporting all affected passengers and employees.

The Airbus A330 was full, carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members.

At a news conference on Sunday, the chief operating officer for Hawaiian Airlines, Jon Snook, said that the seatbelt sign was on when flight HA35 experienced turbulence about 30 minutes outside of Honolulu. “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,” Snook said.

“We’re very thankful the extent of the injuries was not critical. It could have been worse.” The turbulence happened just before or at the point of descent, Snook said.

The National Weather Service said the severe turbulence happened at about 36,000 feet.

“We believe the flight may have gone through a thunderstorm, which may have caused the severe turbulence,” said NWS meteorologist Genki Kino. “During that time, there were scattered thunderstorms everywhere.”

Snook said there is an investigation to determine what happened, including how much altitude was lost. The FAA is also investigating.