Six people were injured Sunday night when a US Airways flight heading to Orlando encountered severe turbulence shortly after takeoff, airline officials said.
The Airbus A330 aircraft with 265 passengers and a crew of 10 on board returned to Philadelphia after Flight 735 experienced turbulence.
"The aircraft encountered turbulence at approximately 17,000 feet and the seat belt sign was on at the time of the turbulence," US Airways said in a statement.
"(About) 20 minutes into the flight, all of a sudden, we feel this boom, and the plane felt like it dropped down, like, 20 feet," passenger Venus Desue said. "Shoes were flying, people were screaming."
Four passengers and two flight attendants reported injuries and were taken to hospitals, according to US Airways.
One of the flight attendants hit the ceiling of the aircraft, passengers said.
"I saw the lady three rows in front of me bash her head all the way up to the plastic," passenger Maurits Van-Westenbrugge said. "The plastic was broken and hair was hanging, that's how hard she hit it."
"I thought we were going down, I really did," passenger Victoria Rains said.
Two doctors who were passengers on the flight assisted the victims until the plane landed.
"We are working to take care of our customers and employees and accommodating passengers to later flights to Orlando," US Airways said.
"I fly all the time and have never experienced something of that magnitude," Roger Desue said.
Airport spokeswoman Stacy Jackson said another plane was used to take the passengers to Orlando.
In a separate incident, the wing of a WestJet 737 clipped the horizontal stabilizer of a JetBlue plane while on the ground at Orlando International Airport. The horizontal stabilizer is a lifting surface on a plane's tail.
The WestJet flight was pushing back from the gate when the incident happened, according to the FAA.
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