March 2, 2023 | 06:22
Seven people were hospitalized after a plane en route to Germany was hit by severe turbulence and made an emergency landing in Washington DC on Wednesday evening.
Lufthansa Flight 469 was leaving Austin, Texas, and flying over Tennessee when it suffered “severe turbulence,” according to NBC News.
A simulated radar showed the plane dropped at least 300 feet during the flight, as a storm cell hovered over Tennessee and North Carolina.
The plane went off course and landed at Dulles International Airport at 9:12 p.m., according to FlightAware.com.
A Twitter user, who claimed his wife was on the plane, said the turbulence was a surprise and that the injured were not wearing seat belts.
“People who had not fastened their seat belts were the most injured because it unexpectedly arrived without a seat belt sign on and the light hit the plane hard,” the passenger’s spouse said on Twitter.
The plane went into free fall during dinner, when “people and food flew into the air, hitting and even damaging the roof of the plane,” according to a passenger who spoke to the Washington Post.
The outlet reported that one passenger was taken off the plane in a wheelchair after being badly injured with blood splattering over their seats.
The FAA confirmed the incident and will conduct an investigation into the incident.
“Lufthansa Flight 469 diverted to Dulles International Airport and landed without incident around 9:10 p.m. after the crew reported encountering severe turbulence at 37,000 feet above Tennessee,” the FAA said in a statement obtained by CBSNews. “Airbus 330 flew from Austin, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany. FAA will investigate.”
The airline had paid for hotel rooms and taxi services, but paid no other expenses, according to the Washington Post.
No further updates on the injured were given.
The flight took off from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 17:52 (EST).
In December 2022, a United Airlines flight dove 1,400 feet shortly after takeoff in Hawaii.