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‘I woke up and saw my co-passenger was on the ceiling’: Passengers recall massive turbulence on Aus-NZ flight


LATAM airlines hit with massive turbulence
Image Source : REUTERS/@LATAMAIRLINES LATAM Airlines hit with massive turbulence

Sydney: As officials investigate what caused a “strong shake” before a sudden plunge on a plane travelling between Australia and New Zealand, a passenger on Tuesday described a wild ride, with people without seatbelts thrown from their seats and some crashing into the plane’s ceiling. At least 50 people were injured Monday by what LATAM Airlines described as a “strong movement” on the Chilean plane travelling from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand.

“No, it was out of nowhere”

“No, it was out of nowhere. There was no pre… there was no turbulence, there was no — I mean outside of that, just drop, serious drop — it was smooth sailing the whole way. So, when this happened it was – no one was ready for it so everyone was just walking around or, you know, doing what they do, stretching their legs if they want and instantly the plane kind of did a (gestures with hand). I was sleeping at the time and thank God I was strapped in and when it dropped I felt like a kind of a massive sensation but I didn’t realise how volatile it was,” said Brian Adam Jokat, an aircraft passenger.

VIDEO: Passenger recalls horrific situation

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner later landed at Auckland Airport as scheduled and was due to continue on to Santiago, Chile. LATAM Airlines said in a statement that there was “a technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement.” In a later statement, the airline said that the plane “experienced a strong shake during flight, the cause of which is currently under investigation.”

The airline said it was working with officials to support an investigation into what happened.

“There are two people flying through the air”

Passengers were met by paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles when the flight touched down in Auckland. “My neighbour who was in the seat two over from me, there was a gap in between us, as soon as I woke I looked and he was on the ceiling and I thought I was dreaming. Like I thought I just woke from a dream and I looked up and he was full length facing down looking down at me. And I looked ahead and there’s another guy on the ceiling, there are two people flying through the air, going across the aisles and I was like – and then he fell straight from the ceiling down onto the armrest and hurt his ribs and the other guy cut his arm pretty bad, another guy hit his head through the plastic ceiling tiles, they broke, so you could see all the wires in the plane above. And I was like holy shit, this is real,” added the passenger.

“And I didn’t – nothing happened to me, I was like completely strapped in tight. I had red wine all over me and all over the cabin and stuff but other than that I was like ‘What’? And then people were screaming and shrieking in pain and in fright and I was like, kind of looking around going ‘what’? Because I thought, you know, you nearly think there was something before this. You’re thinking what’s going on?” he said.


About 50 people were treated at the scene for mostly mild injuries, while 13 were hospitalized, an ambulance spokesperson said. LATAM said that of the 13, the majority were discharged soon after, and only one passenger and one cabin crew member needed additional attention, “but without any life-threatening risks.” Passengers said a number of people weren’t wearing seatbelts when flight LA800 suddenly dropped. The airline said that it “regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards.”

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Massive turbulence hits Sydney-Auckland LATAM Airlines flight, injures over 50 passengers


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