CALGARY — Emergency crews transported 21 injured passengers to hospital Wednesday after a flight bound for Toronto from Shanghai was diverted to Calgary International Airport.
Air Canada Flight AC88 made an unscheduled landing in Calgary at about 3:30 p.m. local time. According to passengers, severe turbulence struck the plane when it was over Alaska.
EMS and airport officials said emergency responders assessed 25 passengers. Among the 21 patients taken to hospital were three children. None of the injuries are life-threatening.
Passenger Connie Gelber described the journey as a “flight from hell.”
“It was frightening,” she said. “Honestly we didn’t know if we were going to live or die.”
Gelber said the girl beside her was thrown “right out of her seat down the aisle” when the turbulence hit.
Liu Pinzhou was sleeping when the turbulence abruptly woke him up.
“Some guys just flew,” he said. “It was crazy.”
Gavin Lru was travelling with his family and saw the people sitting behind him “fly into the aisle.”
Helen Zhang snapped photos of the chaos inside the plane and said there was lots of crying.
Gord Murray travels often for work and said the crew were exceedingly professional in the face of the turbulence.
“We are all happy to be back on the ground safe and sound,” he said.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it has sent two investigators to the Calgary airport to find out what led to the injuries. The investigators will request the aircraft’s black box and will interview Air Canada employees.
“They will see if they can gather enough evidence to understand what happened,” said Julie Leroux, spokeswoman with the oversight agency.
According to Air Canada, a preliminary passenger list indicates the plane was carrying 332 passengers and 19 crew members.
Many passengers were put on a new flight to Toronto leaving the airport Wednesday evening.
Calgary Herald, with files from Reid Southwick
Passengers from flight have started to come off. This girl says person beside her flew into air when turbulence hit https://t.co/0DTYtAxyve
Annalise Klingbeil (@AnnaliseAK) December 30, 2015