Turbulence Injures Nine WestJet Passengers

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Nine passengers were injured and three of them were hospitalized when a WestJet Boeing 737 hit severe turbulence over Northern Ontario late Thursday. The flight was on its way from Calgary to Halifax when passengers said it suddenly dropped. Some reports have said the plane may have plunged as much as 1,000 feet but there's been no confirmation. Passengers told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald that the flight crew had announced the possibility of turbulence and turned on the seatbelt sign just seconds before the plane dropped. Most of those injured were on their way back to their seats and were thrown into the ceiling and overhead luggage compartments. A WestJet spokesman said the airline is looking into the incident.

The mishap occurred when the aircraft was about 90 minutes from its destination and the flight crew kept going to Halifax rather than diverting. Two nurses on board the flight treated the injured passengers, many of whom suffered lacerations and bruises. "There was one gentleman who had a really bad laceration to his head and his leg," nurse Kathi Nelson said. Several complained of sore necks and backs. Ambulances met the aircraft at Halifax Airport. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are looking into the incident but TSB spokesman Mike Cunningham said it's unlikely his organization will launch a formal probe.“It looks like a fairly typical turbulence encounter,” Mr. Cunningham said. “I doubt very much that we will be doing a formal investigation.”