10 injured after passenger jet lurches violently in flight
An American Airlines flight lurched violently over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, sending drinks and people flying — and putting 10 in the hospital after landing in Philadelphia.
Alex Ehmke and his family had spent nearly 10 hours in the air — flying home from a vacation in Europe, he told The Washington Post.
Flight attendants were handing out a last round of drinks before landing, and the U.S. shore had just come into view.
“It had been completely uneventful,” Ehmke said. “It looked like a nice day.”
He and his wife got their coffees. Five minutes or so passed.
What happened next is a bit of blur to Ehmke, but he recalled an announcement urging passengers to fasten their seat belts, though the safety light was already on.
Another passenger, Ian Smith, told ABC affiliate WPVI that flight attendants were told to return to their seats, too.
“They didn’t even have time,” he said.
It began with a few seconds of shaking — not severe, the sort of turbulence any frequent flier gets used to.
But the shaking got worse. Ehmke saw drinks spilling and sensed a faint panic in the aisles. Still, he wasn’t worried.
Then, suddenly, what he calls “the lurch.”
He would later tell NBC News that everything in his field of vision shot up four feet in the air, and he would tell WPVI that “it felt like the whole plane was in free fall.”
According to American, three passengers and seven crew members were injured.
The plane didn’t divert to another airport. In the halfhour or so before it reached Philadelphia, Ehmke said, the pilot apologized for what the Federal Aviation Administration and American Airlines later described as “severe turbulence,” cause unknown.