Nine people were seriously injured after severe turbulence caused passengers on an Air Canada flight to “hit the roof”.
The plane – travelling from Vancouver to Sydney – made an emergency landing in Honolulu after encountering “un-forecasted and sudden turbulence”, the airline said.
One passenger said the plane “just dropped” and there were bodies “literally on the ceiling of the plane”, while another said there was “a lot of blood everywhere”.
Babies and children were crying.
One woman hit her head so hard she broke the case around an oxygen mask.
Thirty people were taken to hospital, while 37 were injured in total. Injuries included cuts, bumps, bruises, neck pain and back pain, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright.
The turbulence happened when the Boeing 777-200 was cruising at 36,000ft, about 600 miles (966km) southwest of Honolulu, US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
There had already been some turbulence and passenger Andrew Szucs said he was awake and bracing himself.
“All of a sudden the plane dropped and went sideways,” he said. “And that’s when people flew – hit the ceiling.”
Mr Szucs, who was uninjured, added that the pilot said on the radio that the flight deck had “no warning this kind of air drop was going to happen”.
Sandy Marshall, from Sydney, was travelling with her two children.
“I didn’t have my seat belt on at the time,” she said. “My child was sleeping on me, and I went straight up into the ceiling.”
While most of the impact was to her head, she also suffered a laceration under her right eye, bruising and muscular pain in her neck. Her children were unhurt.
“The plane just dropped,” another passenger, Stephanie Beam, said. “When we hit turbulence, I woke up and looked over to make sure my kids were buckled. The next thing I knew there’s just literally bodies on the ceiling of the plane.”
Llyn Williams and his wife Erica Daly were travelling back to their home in Sydney, Australia. His wife was among those taken to hospital after being injured.
“Everybody who was not seated and belted in hit the roof – almost everybody in our cabin,” Mr Williams said.
Afterwards, there was plastic lying around and oxygen masks dangling.
There was “a lot of blood everywhere”, he said, and it was “really quite scary”.
Air Canada arranged for people to be accommodated in Honolulu before resuming their journeys.