Severe turbulence on United Airlines flight injures passengers, crew

February 18, 2014 5:45:18 AM PST
United Airlines is investigating why a plane just about to land started shaking wildly.

Three crew members and two passengers needed treatment after a United Airlines flight hit unusually rough turbulence that tossed people around the plane.

The plane was traveling from Denver to Billings, Montana, when it hit a patch of rough air.

Witnesses say the turbulence was so strong, a baby was propelled from its mother's arms and landed in a seat nearby, CNN reports. The child was OK.

A passenger told CNN that those who weren't buckled in were slammed against the ceiling.

"There was a guy in front of me, actually, who lifted up and hit the ceiling of the plane and came down on the other side on the lady across the aisle," passenger Bill Dahlin said.

Passengers said one woman flew up into the air and hit the ceiling so hard, it cracked.

Dahlin told CNN he thinks the crew was just as surprised by the sudden turbulence as the passengers were.

"There was a lot of screaming and a lot of hollering and things like that going on," Dahlin said. "I think they were somewhat panicked. I think they were trying to assess things themselves, so they just didn't really offer any explanation, because of what happened so quickly."

The captain declared a medical emergency and the plane landed safely.

Five people were taken to the hospital. United says all five have since been treated and released.

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