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Flight Out Of PHL Forced To Turn Back After Severe Turbulence; 6 Injured

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By Matt Rivers, Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four passengers and two crew members were injured Sunday afternoon when a flight out of Philadelphia encountered severe turbulence.

Officials say US Airways Flight 735 departed Philadelphia International Airport just before 4 p.m. for Orlando. Shortly after takeoff, when the flight was about 17,000 feet in the air, it was forced to turn back due to severe turbulence.

Five of the flight’s 265 passengers and 10 crew members were taken to the hospital to be examined. Another passenger was examined on the scene.

One passenger told CBS3 they were woken up by the turbulence and they didn’t think the crew was in their seats when the turbulence started.

Those wishing to continue their trip to Orlando departed with a new crew around 8 p.m.

Passengers safely on the ground in Orlando described the chaos.

“All of the sudden, we just feel this boom and the plane felt like it dropped 20 feet down,” said Venus Desue. “Shoes were flying, cell phones were flying, people were screaming. It was very, very, very scary.”

“I saw the lady three rows in front of me, she bashed her head, like all the way up to the plastic,” said passenger Mauritis Van Westenbrugge.

A spokesperson from US Airways released the following statement regarding the turbulence:

“On Sunday afternoon, US Airways flight 735 from Philadelphia to Orlando encountered severe turbulence shortly after takeoff. The Airbus A330 aircraft, with 265 passengers and a crew of ten, returned to Philadelphia. It landed safely and taxied to the gate, where passengers deplaned normally. Four passengers and two flight attendants reported injuries and were transported to local hospitals. The aircraft encountered turbulence at approximately 17,000 feet and the seat belt sign was on at the time of the turbulence. We are working to take care of our customers and employees and accommodated customers on later flights to Orlando.”

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