JetBlue Flight Diverted After 24 Passengers And Crew Injured In Severe Turbulence

Image courtesy of frankieleon

It’s pretty common for a cross-country flight to meet a thunderstorm somewhere between the coasts, especially at night during the summer. It’s thankfully much less common for the turbulence from that storm to be so bad that two dozen people end up being checked out in the hospital.

Everything was fine when JetBlue flight 429 took off around 5:30 ET for Sacramento from Boston’s Logan airport, the Boston Globe reports, but things got bumpy over the middle of the country.

One passenger told the Globe that the turbulence wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary until, well, suddenly it was. “I was working on my laptop when the plane suddenly dropped,” he told the paper. “I don’t know how far it dropped, but all I recall is my laptop almost hit the ceiling, several other passengers hit their heads, and a bunch of the overhead bins popped open.”

The passenger also told the Globe that that big, sudden drop is when all the injuries happened.

You know how the flight crew asks you to keep your seat belt fastened even when the sign isn’t on? Turbulence like this is why: Physics got the better of passengers and crew that weren’t belted in during that drop, and their heads connected with the ceiling. Three flight attendants standing and working in the rear of the craft also went flying, with one hitting hard enough that her head left a hole in the ceiling tile.

Following the unfortunate air encounter, the plane immediately diverted to Rapid City, SD, where it landed around 7:30 p.m. MT — about 15 minutes after the jolt. Passengers requiring medical attention were seen to, and JetBlue sent another plane from California to pick up the passengers and get them to Sacramento.

JetBlue offered all passengers on the flight a credit in the amount of the round-trip fare they paid or $200, whichever is greater.

24 people injured following turbulence on JetBlue flight [Boston Globe]