“We are grateful for the first responders who met the aircraft to provide medical attention and who are transporting the injured to the hospital," Delta said
Nearly a dozen passengers were injured due to turbulence during a Delta Air Lines flight from Milan to Atlanta on Tuesday.
Delta told PEOPLE in a statement that its flight DL175 “experienced severe turbulence” before landing safely in Atlanta.
The Federal Aviation Administration told ABC News that the flight was about 40 miles northeast of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when the turbulence was reported, and that the plane landed around 7 p.m. local time.
After landing, 11 passengers and crew members were transported to the hospital for injuries, Delta said.
“Our priority is taking care of our customers and crew who sustained injuries,” the airline said in their statement. “We are grateful for the first responders who met the aircraft to provide medical attention and who are transporting the injured to the hospital.”
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There were 151 passengers and 14 crew members on board the Airbus A350, which is often used for longer flights.
The airline said U.S. Customs and Border Protection “ensured passengers needing medical attention were appropriately cleared to continue,” and customers who were not injured were provided accommodations, food and re-booking services.
Turbulence is defined as "an irregular motion of the air resulting from eddies and vertical currents" associated with fronts, wind shear, thunderstorms or other weather events, according to the National Weather Service.
The agency said severe turbulence can cause "large and abrupt changes in altitude" and "large variations in indicated airspeed," which can cause passengers to "be forced violently against their seat belts." It said the plane can be "momentarily out of control."
This is the latest incident in a string of airlines experiencing "severe turbulence" over the last year. In March, several people were injured after Lufthansa flight 469 from Austin, Texas, to Frankfurt, Germany, reported "severe turbulence" while flying at 37,000 feet over Tennessee. The flight had to be diverted to Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport.
In December 2022, 36 passengers were injured during a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu after it encountered "severe turbulence."
The airplane was at an altitude of about 36,000 feet when it hit a pocket of unstable air, sending unbuckled passengers and unsecured objects airborne, according to multiple reports.
Passenger injuries included lacerations, bruising, loss of consciousness and at least one serious head injury, according to local station KHON2 News.
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