'It was a miracle we survived': Passengers tell of horror on board a plane hit by severe turbulence

This image of two flight attendants sitting at the back of their aircraft in neck braces was uploaded to Twitter shortly after the flight. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter
This image of two flight attendants sitting at the back of their aircraft in neck braces was uploaded to Twitter shortly after the flight. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter

Passengers and cabin crew were left in neck braces with bleeding heads after a flight hit severe turbulence.

The Avianca Airbus, which was flying from Lima in Peru to Buenos Aires in Argentina, was dramatically rocked at around 41,000ft.

Images of injured people standing by their seats, oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and panels snapped and dented emerged online following the incident. One flier claimed that it was "a miracle that passengers survived".

Blood-stained tissue sits among food and containers that were thrown from their positions during the violent turbulence. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter
Blood-stained tissue sits among food and containers that were thrown from their positions during the violent turbulence. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter

The severe turbulence left 23 passengers and cabin crew members injured.

An image of two flight attendants sitting at the back of their aircraft in neck braces was uploaded to Twitter shortly after the flight. One of the crew members has several plasters on her head and blood on her shirt.

Another shot shows a large cut down the forehead of a flight attendant.

Other photos of the incident shared on social media show food strewn over the floor, along with a bloodied tissue.

According to the Aviation Herald, the flight continued to Buenos Aires and landed safely about 80 minutes later.

Despite having damaged ceiling panels, the aircraft departed on a return flight six hours later.

According to a press release from Avianca the plane suffered "from strong unexpected turbulence when passing over the Andes Mountain range around 1.11am".


As it passed through a stretch of bad weather, the sudden jerks of the N279AV aircraft surprised those on board, including crew who were reportedly not wearing their safety belts at the time.

Although reports from the airport confirmed that 23 people received medical attention upon arrival, the airline detailed in its communication that 12 people were injured during the flight.

According to the airline, eight crew members and four passengers received knocks and injuries during the turbulence.

Concerning those injured, Avianca commented: "Ten people were admitted to hospital for their respective checks. Six of them have already been released with the all clear and the four remaining, all crew members, continue to receive medical attention at the clinic."

One witness recalled how a passenger was jerked upwards and slammed their head, breaking a piece of plastic in the plane.

One passenger, Alejandro Babato, said: "Nobody from Avianca was there to meet us when we arrived in Ezeiza to see how we were. It was a miracle we survived."

An Avianca spokesman said: "We lament the incident and will remain in contact to monitor the state of those passengers affected."

Despite having damaged ceiling panels, the aircraft allegedly departed on a return flight six hours after landing. Photo / AlexinAir Twitter
Despite having damaged ceiling panels, the aircraft allegedly departed on a return flight six hours after landing. Photo / AlexinAir Twitter

The incident follows a flight carrying 378 passengers and crew members encountering severe turbulence on a journey from London to Kuala Lumpur - leaving some of those on board injured.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH1 experienced "a brief moment of severe turbulence" over the Bay of Bengal on Sunday, the airline said in a statement.

Photos shared across social media showed toppled food carts, food strewn all over the aisle and cracks in overhead passenger units.

At the beginning of May, meanwhile, terrifying video footage emerged of passengers on a packed plane praying and wailing as severe turbulence rocked it from side to side.

Thirty-one passengers and a crew member aboard an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi were injured on Wednesday when their plane suddenly hit turbulence as it prepared to land in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

And in a chilling video, people on board are seen with their hands in the air, seemingly praying that they survive the incident around 45 minutes before it landed at Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

Images of injured people standing by their seats, oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and panels snapped and dented, emerged online following the incident. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter
Images of injured people standing by their seats, oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and panels snapped and dented, emerged online following the incident. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter

And in April a passenger told of her terrifying ordeal on board a flight that was hit by turbulence so severe that it left six people hospitalised and a seat soaked in the blood of an injured passenger.

SarahJayne Edwards, 39, was on board a Thai Airways flight from Jakarta to Bangkok when it hit severe turbulence above Singapore - an experience so scary that she even began penning a letter to her husband 'in case something happened'.

Pictures that emerged of the aftermath show a seat covered in blood from a passenger who suffered a "nasty gash" and the aisle cluttered with cushions, food and rubbish.

Speaking to MailOnline previously about what happens to an aircraft during an episode of turbulence, Patrick Smith, an active airline pilot and author said: "During turbulence, the pilots are not fighting the controls.

A flight attendant was left with a gash down her forehead. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter
A flight attendant was left with a gash down her forehead. Photo / TrafficAirColom Twitter

"Planes are designed with what we call positive stability, meaning that when nudged from their original point in space, by their nature they wish to return there.

"The best way of handling rough air is to effectively ride it out, hands-off. (Some autopilots have a turbulence mode that desensitizes the system, to avoid over-controlling.)

"It can be uncomfortable, but the jet is not going to flip upside down.

"For what it's worth, thinking back over the whole history of modern commercial aviation, I cannot recall a single jetliner crash caused by turbulence, strictly speaking.

"Airplanes are engineered to withstand an extreme amount of stress, and the amount of turbulence required to, for instance, tear off a wing, is far beyond anything you'll ever experience."

- Daily Mail

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