Midair Nightmare: Extreme Turbulence Forces Plane to Make Emergency Landing in DC, 7 Rushed to Hospital
Seven people were taken to hospitals Wednesday night after a Lufthansa plane flying from Texas to Germany made an emergency landing near Washington, D.C.
Lufthansa Flight 469 was flying from Austin to Frankfurt when it encountered turbulence and landed at Dulles International Airport about 9:12 p.m., the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said, according to NBC News.
A passenger whose name was not used told The Washington Post the plane went into a “free fall” as the in-flight meal was being served.
People and food “went flying into the air, hitting and even damaging the ceiling of the plane,” the passenger said.
My wife was on that flight she sent this pic This is what the inside looked like food everywhere, people who didn’t have the seat belts fastened got hurt mostly cause it came as surprise without seat belt sign on and lighting hit the plane badly went 1k ft down & up pilot said pic.twitter.com/NJi2JC6shk
— Stryker Fadhel (@ModerMuna) March 2, 2023
The person told the Post that a person in front of the passenger was “badly hurt” and that blood had splattered on the person’s seat. That passenger was taken off the plane in a wheelchair, the passenger said.
According to CNN, passenger Susan Zimmerman of Austin said, “During dinner service, there suddenly was a wind shear, the plane increased altitude, then we fell 1,000 feet.”
“It was like unexpectedly free-falling for five seconds off the top of a rollercoaster. Plates and glassware were up at the ceiling, and my purse from the floor flew behind me to the right,” Zimmerman said, adding that she was not injured.
Passenger Jazz Kantipudi said at least one member of the crew was bounced around, according to WRC-TV in Washington.
“He was literally standing up serving drinks, so he had no way to brace himself,” Kantipudi said. “At one of the drops, he literally, completely, hit the ceiling and dropped down and was completely horizontal.”
“I looked to my right and I saw him just up there, and it was honestly kind of freaky … like something out of a movie,” he said.
New video shows the aftermath of what passengers describe as a “free fall” on board Lufthansa Flight 469. Hear from a passenger who was onboard the flight coming up on News4 Today @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/KUkN64VRFp
— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch_) March 2, 2023
Lufthansa said in a statement that the plane was affected by “so-called clear air turbulence, which can occur without visible weather phenomena or advance warning,” according to CNN.
“The affected passengers were given initial care on board by the flight attendants trained for such cases,” the airline said.
“As the safety and well-being of passengers and crew members is the top priority at all times, the cockpit crew decided to make an alternate landing to [Dulles] after flying through the turbulence,” it said.
The crew of the Airbus A330 reported that the turbulence took place over Tennessee while the plane was at 37,000 feet, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.