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Jet plunges in turbulence, hurting 11 crew, passengers

Eight China Southern Airlines Flight CZ3525 passengers and three crew members suffered fractures and bruises yesterday when their Boeing 777 jet encountered severe turbulence on route from Guangzhou to Shanghai.

One passenger suffered a cervical fracture; another broke an arm. Others had bruises in their faces, Guangzhou-based air carrier said.

Some passengers who did fasten their seat belts were thrown out of their seats. Food and drinks also spilled on passengers during the sudden turbulence 20 minutes after taking off.

"I had a horrible feeling that I was going to die at that moment because I suddenly felt being weightless," a passenger said on his microblog.

"The plane was plunging for several seconds that made things fly all about and some passengers were thrown out of their seats," said Hou Jinlin, another passenger on the flight.

A stewardess who was serving food and drinks when the turbulence happened was tossed in the air along with her dining cart.

"A laptop flew up and dropped on my head," a Guangzhou passenger said.

Ambulances waited on the runway in Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to send injured passengers directly to the Changning District Center Hospital as soon as the plane landed at 15:30pm. Doctors said none of them suffered serious injuries.

China Southern Airlines said the turbulence was caused by a strong air current hidden in the clouds that the pilot could hardly notice. It suggested passengers to fasten seat belts all the way during the flight.

The accident caused a 9-hour delay for the return flight to Guangzhou as technicians conducted a thorough inspection on the plane, which left Shanghai this morning.


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