10 in­jured after pas­sen­ger jet lurches vi­o­lently in flight

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Avi Selk

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.

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