Dozens of people were injured when an Air Canada flight to Australia encountered unexpected turbulence, forcing the plane to land in Hawaii early this morning.
The flight from Vancouver to Sydney encountered 'un-forecasted and sudden turbulence,' about two hours past Hawaii when the plane diverted to Honolulu, Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said in a statement.
Thirty five people sustained minor injuries and nine required treatment in hospital.
Emergency responders met the plane at the gate. Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman wasn't able to immediately provide details about what kinds of injuries were involved.
Passengers told news reporters the turbulence tossed people into the air, some hitting the ceiling.
'A lot of screaming, the girl in front of me hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped it and broke it and the oxygen mask came down,' one passenger told Today.
Passenger Luke Wheeldon told Honolulu news station KTIV about half the passengers weren't wearing seatbelts.
'There was no warning and then half of them, their head hit the roof all at once,' he said. 'And I went, 'Oh, this is a bad day.''
The turbulence happened at 10,973 metres about 966 kilometres southwest of Honolulu, said US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.
Gregor says crew members asked for medical personnel to meet the plane at the gate.
Air Canada has since released a statement saying: 'Our first priority is always the safety of our flights, passengers and crew and as a precaution, medical personnel are on standby to assist passengers in Honolulu.'
The Boeing 777-200 was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members, according to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.
The airline is now working to provide emergency accommodation to those affected and arrange an alternative flight to Sydney.
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