12 injured during violent turbulence on Houston flight

Passengers were terrified by the unexpected turbulence on a flight from Houston to London.

HOUSTON - A flight from Houston to London was diverted to Ireland due to unexpected violent turbulence early Wednesday.

Initially the BBC reported that two crew members and 14 passengers were hospitalized. United Airlines has since updated that number to 10 passengers and two crew members.

According to the airline, all but one person - a crew member - have been discharged from the hospital.

FlightAware.com reports the affected flight was United Airlines 880. It landed about an hour short of its destination around midnight Houston time.

"United Airlines is providing care and support to customers and crew of flight UA880 which experienced severe and unexpected turbulence during a flight from Houston to London Heathrow today. The aircraft diverted to Shannon Airport in Ireland where it was met by medical personnel. 10 customers and two flight attendants were taken to a local hospital and all have since been discharged, except for one of our flight attendants," the airline stated shortly before 7 a.m.

The Boeing 767-300 was flying with 207 passengers and 13 crewmembers.

The Associated Press says that those taken to the hospital from the flight were treated for soft tissue injuries, cuts and minor head injuries, according to a hospital statement. In addition to those hospitalized, several Flight 880 passengers received treatment for “lesser injuries.”

"I happened to be looking off the right and through the shades I saw a flash of light... I'm pretty sure something on the right wing got hit by lightning," said John O'Shea of Spring.

O'Shea also said that when the pilot addressed the rest of the plane, he said that the plane had flown into an unexpected lightning and thunder storm that was not on the radar.

According to Aviation Expert Josh Verde, "Clear air turbulence is unpredictable. It can happen at any time with little to no warning... For that reason, you'll hear airlines repeating themselves with respect to the fasten seatbelt sign being off. Wear your seatbelt anyway."

"I think the fact that 80% of the people were asleep and had their seatbelts on is probably what saved a lot more from getting hurt," added O'Shea.


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