Passengers hit 'roof of plane,' forcing emergency landing in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Nicole Turner says she always expects to hit a few bumps while flying, but she wasn't prepared for the intense turbulence her flight experienced Tuesday. Shaking so strong it forcing her American Airlines plane into an emergency landing at the Charleston International Airport to tend to those injured in the incident.

Turner says being on solid ground never felt so good.

"All our stuff came from under the seat and flew up in the air," she says. "Then it came back down and some of the passengers that weren't in their seat hit the roof of the plane."

Two passengers of those passengers and one flight attendant were hurt due to the rough ride. The injured people were first checked out on the plane when it landed and then loaded into ambulances on stretchers and brought to Roper St. Francis hospital this evening.

"You can imagine if you are not seated in your seat and all of the sudden the plane falls based on an air pocket," says Bill New, Deputy Director of Airports in Charleston about the incident.

"It's rare," says New. "But it does happen when there's inadvertent weather or thunderstorms."

The plane was heading to Dulles International Airport with 152 passengers and a crew of 6 on board when it made an emergency landing in Charleston shortly before 4:30 p.m. American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said Flight 734 encountered severe turbulence near the Florida-Georgia border.

Smith said a replacement plane was being flown to Charleston and the passengers would continue their flight Tuesday evening. Airline officials say the plane made a normal landing and added that mechanics will check out the aircraft for any damage.

The three people have been released from the hospital with minor injuries and are on their way to completing their trips to Washington, D.C.

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