At least 35 people suffer minor injuries after Air Canada flight hit by severe turbulence

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with REUTERS
At least 35 people suffer minor injuries after Air Canada flight hit by severe turbulence
Copyright  Jess Smith/Storyful

An Air Canada flight was diverted to Honolulu, Hawaii, after experiencing unusually severe turbulence that left 35 passengers with minor injuries, the airline said in a statement.

Flight AC33, which was flying from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, with 269 passengers and 15 crew onboard, "encountered unforecasted and sudden turbulence approximately two hours past Hawaii," the carrier said on Thursday.

The Boeing 777 aircraft landed in Honolulu at 12:45 pm ET (6:45 pm CET).

"As a precaution, medical personnel are on standby to examine passengers in Honolulu," the carrier said.

A passenger on the flight Sam Rattanasone posted an image of himself with a neck brace and images of the aeroplane's oxygen masks on his Instagram account.

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Unexpected holiday in Hawaii

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In June, a severe case of turbulence on a flight from Kosovo to Switzerland was captured on video. Ten people were injured in the incident aboard the ALK Airlines flight from Pristina to Basel, including a member of cabin crew who was thrown into the ceiling.

Paul Williams, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading, told Euronews that climate change could increase the number of such encounters with turbulence in the future.

He said: "Flight routes are planned using forecasts of clear-air turbulence, which are getting more accurate all the time, but they are still not perfect."

"Our published studies show that climate change is making clear-air turbulence a lot worse - increasing the amount of turbulence by several hundred percent over the coming decades."

"So, unfortunately, I think we will see a lot more turbulence encounters like this in the future."