Emergency responders said that severe turbulence seriously injured 11 people and injured dozens of others Sunday during a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu about 30 minutes before landing.
The Federal Aviation Administration told ABC News in a statement Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 was flying from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu when the pilots reported severe turbulence around 10:20 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Sunday.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services told The Associated Press that responders treated 36 patients, with at least 20 patients transported for further medical treatment, including serious head injuries, cuts, bruises – some patients had been knocked unconscious.
The youngest patient treated was 14 months old.
Agency officials said eleven people were in serious condition, and nine were in stable condition.
An airline spokesperson told local media that “the airline is supporting all affected passengers and employees.”
Local media reported The National Weather Service said the severe turbulence occurred at about 36,000 feet.
“We believe the flight may have gone through a thunderstorm, which may have caused the severe turbulence,” NWS meteorologist Genki Kino said. “During that time, there were scattered thunderstorms everywhere.”
Kaylee Reyes, a passenger, told local media that the incident happened just as her mother had just sat down without a chance to buckle her seatbelt.
“She flew up and hit the ceiling,” Reyes said.
#BREAKING: At least 36 people were injured, including 11 seriously, Sunday after a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu hit severe turbulence about 30 minutes before landing. MORE: https://t.co/fzQdz7rJgD #HNN pic.twitter.com/JbVFEG16ox
— Hawaii News Now (@HawaiiNewsNow) December 18, 2022
The airline said per ABC News, the plane had 278 passengers and ten crew members on board the flight, the airline said.