A United Airlines flight was forced to turn around this week after plummeting 28,000 feet in a matter of minutes after taking off to Rome from New Jersey.
Data from FlightAware said the plane dropped from about 37,000 feet down to just 9,000 feet in the span of eight minutes just after 10 p.m. EST on Wednesday night, according to CNN. The airline said that the plane returned “to address a possible loss of cabin pressure.”
“United Airlines Flight 510 returned safely to Newark Liberty International Airport around 12:25 a.m. local time on Thursday, Sept. 14, after the crew reported a pressurization issue,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. “The Boeing 777 was headed to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport.”
The CNN report said that the flight with 270 passengers and 14 crew members landed safely.
The FAA Is investigating the rapid descent of a United Airlines jet that was traveling from Newark, New Jersey to Rome. Pilots on the flight reported a possible pressurization issue about 50 minutes into the flight and had to circle back to the airport for an emergency landing. pic.twitter.com/Y43oApBaSk
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 14, 2023
In December, at least five people went to the hospital for injuries sustained during “severe turbulence” on a United Airlines flight from Brazil headed to Houston.
“The flight experienced severe turbulence that resulted in five passengers being transported to the hospital once it landed in Houston,” public information officer Augusto Bernal said.
According to United, the injured included two passengers and three crew members.
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that the plane — a Boeing 767 — reported experiencing turbulence as it traveled over Cancun, Mexico.
The incident comes after a similar situation also occurred in December on a Hawaiian Airlines flight that resulted in 20 people going to the hospital. In total, 36 people on the Hawaiian Airlines flight were hurt. The plane touched down at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu on Sunday morning. Eleven people were admitted with serious conditions, while nine others were stable.
“Injuries included a serious head injury, lacerations, bruising and loss of consciousness,” Shayne Enright, a Honolulu Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman, said, per The New York Times.
“We are also very happy and we feel fortunate that there were not any deaths or other critical injuries,” Jim Ireland, director of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, said.
“It’s the holidays, everybody’s trying to come here for vacation or come back home,” he added. “It’s generally a time when people are happy. And so this is obviously something that they didn’t plan for in their journey here.”
Jon Snook, the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hawaiian Air, told reporters that the “fasten seatbelt” sign was illuminated when the incident took place.
“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.”
Charlotte Pence Bond contributed to this report.
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