8 hospitalized after Nashville-bound flight hits turbulence
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Six passengers and two flight attendants had to be taken to the hospital in Alabama after an American Airlines flight from Tampa, Florida, to Nashville hit unexpected turbulence during a flight Wednesday afternoon.
American Airlines said the flight made an emergency landing in Birmingham after the turbulence sent the passengers and crew members flying across the plane.
Franklin resident Brad Tice was on the flight returning home from a business trip. He said the turbulence was worse than anything he has ever experienced before after a very smooth start to the flight.
Tice said the pilot announced the plane was taking a different route than normal to avoid a storm. There had been no turbulence, so people had taken off their seatbelts.
When the plane turned north, Tice said it felt like a rollercoaster for about 30 seconds.
“I grabbed my drink and I was trying to make it not spill,” Tice said. “There was no way to avoid not spilling the glass. Drinks were flying across the ceiling. Anyone not in a seatbelt, their heads hit the ceiling.
“The guy behind me, the ceiling cracked, he hit it so hard. I look up and the flight attendant is bloody, really bloody.”
Tice said they were lucky to have doctors on the plane that rushed to help people after the turbulence. He was also impressed by the flight attendants jumping into their emergency training protocol to focus on the passengers despite being hurt themselves.
“I heard (the flight attendant) lost a tooth, or I don’t know if it was a bloody nose or what,” Tice said. “They got her cleaned up and she just held that. We thought we were going to head all the way to Nashville, and then I think they talked to some of the other passengers. I know there was a child that was a lap child and wasn’t in a seatbelt that they were concerned about.”
Birmingham airport officials said 10 passengers were evaluated on scene by medics in addition to the people who were taken to the hospital.
The plane was not damaged and continued to Nashville, landing around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Tice said he and a couple other passengers opted to share an Uber from Birmingham to Franklin instead of waiting for the rescheduled flight.
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