via Laurie Cipriano and Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY
Kerri Mullins had just taken a picture of the clear blue skies over Montana moments before she says she experienced the scariest 25 seconds of her life.
Mullins, from Arvada, Colo., was aboard United Airlines Flight 1676 from Denver to Billings when it hit turbulence so severe that people were tossed from their seats. Three flight attendants and two passengers were injured.
“I thought ‘Wow! Yeah, this is it,’ ” Mullins said. “It’s the most helpless feeling ever — to just be sitting there and not have any control over anything.”
Mullins said the plane turned sharply to the right and started plunging.
“Everything flew out of everybody’s hands,” she said. “It was quite surreal.”
Mullins said some passengers who weren’t wearing seat belts hit the ceiling. When the plane stabilized, passengers began handing items back to each other that flew around the cabin — like phones and wallets.
One flight attendant remained hospitalized as of late Monday night, United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said in an e-mail.
The Boeing 737-700 left Denver at 11:57 a.m. Monday with 114 passengers and five crew members aboard.
“Our primary focus is assisting our employees and passengers who were injured, and our flight safety team will review what happened,” read a statement from the Chicago-based airline.
The turbulence happened upon descent and the plane landed at Billings Logan International Airport at 1:23 p.m.
Passenger Bill Dahlin told KTVQ that one woman hit the ceiling to hard that the panel above her cracked — and another woman cried out for her baby, said Dahlin, who was uninjured.
“I have flown a lot and I do know you run into things like this,” he told KTVQ. “This happened to be a lot rougher than what I’m accustomed to.”
Denver International Airport is one of United’s nine domestic hubs. The airline serves 368 airports and has 88,087 employees, according to its corporate fact sheet. The plane ultimately landed in Billings, but Mullins said the landing wasn’t smooth either.
“We did hit a little bit of turbulence right before we landed, so it was very unnerving after we had just been through all of this,” Mullins said. She said the pilot didn’t make an announcement about the incident.
“I thought it was very interesting that the pilot never came on and said anything about what had happened,” Mullins said. “There was nothing.”
Cipriano reports for KUSA-TV in Denver. Contributing: John Bacon
Original story: here.
Brodkowitz Law represents airline passengers who are injured due to airline negligence. Every year airline passengers are injured when flying commercially. Turbulence injuries are another common occurrence. Many of these injuries are preventable.
When an airline fails to reasonably care causing injury to a passenger, we step in to help hold the airline accountable to ensure the passenger or passengers are compensated. If you have been injured while flying commercially please contact our firm.