Assessment underway after passengers hurt on Air Canada flight
Published Thursday, December 31, 2015 5:19AM MST
Last Updated Thursday, December 31, 2015 10:47AM MST
Officials say that they are assessing the situation after 21 passengers, including three children, were injured when their flight, from Shanghai to Toronto, ran into some violent turbulence and had to make an emergency landing in Calgary.
None of the passengers were in life-threatening condition when they were assessed on the ground, but EMS says many sustained neck, back, and head injuries.
“We assessed a total of 25 that had been aboard the aircraft that were identified as potential patients. In the end we transported 21, 18 of those were adults, 3 were children,” said Stuart Brideaux of Calgary EMS on Wednesday.
In a statement released by Air Canada later on Wednesday night, officials said that some passengers had already been released from the hospital.
The plane was over Alaska when it hit a patch of severe turbulence that lasted nearly an hour.
Officials say the seatbelt sign was activated on the plane, but the passengers who weren’t wearing them were thrown across the plane, suffering injuries.
Luggage from overhead bins also came crashing down during the incident.
Suzanne Caudry, who was a passenger on the flight, says it’s miraculous that only a handful of people were injured.
“To me, it’s a miracle that we didn't have worse happening. A total miracle that there were 350 people and if 20 injured that means 330 weren't and no crew injured and with all those flying objects that in itself is a total miracle.”
Connie Gelber, another passenger said it was a horrifying experience for everyone on board.
“The phones were wrecked. The girl beside me was thrown right out of her seat down the aisle. Everyone was injured. We thought we were dying. Even the steward never in any of their years had seen anything like it. It was the flight from hell. It was frightening. Honestly we didn’t know if we were going to live or die on that flight. You see this in the movies. This was real life.”
In a statement from Air Canada on Wednesday evening, Klaus Goersch, the executive vice president and chief operating officer, called the experience unsettling for passengers on board the flight.
“Safety is always our first priority and so any incident involving the safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost concern. I would like to acknowledge the flight crew of AC088 whose care and professionalism has been recognized by other passengers and I would like to thank our employees on the ground in Calgary and at other stations for their important contributions in response. I would also like to thank the various agencies in Calgary who responded to this incident quickly and professionally. Their actions in helping us take care of our customers is deeply appreciated. We are grateful that the first passengers are already being released from hospital.”
There were 332 passengers and 19 crew on board and many passengers have already taken alternate flights to Toronto already.
Air Canada says they are fully cooperating with the Transportation Safety Board as it decides whether or not to conduct an investigation.