Turbulence on Indian plane leaves 14 injured

The passenger flight encountered a recurring storm when attempting to land in West Bengal

A Spicejet passenger plane hit pockets of severe turbulence as it was trying to land in Durgapur, West Bengal, with many passengers requiring hospital treatment. EPA

At least 14 passengers were hurt, a dozen of those with serious back and head injuries, after a flight encountered heavy turbulence in India.

A SpiceJet flight operating from Mumbai to Durgapur in West Bengal was attempting to land on Sunday evening when it encountered violent currents of air, toppling seated passengers and dropping cabin luggage on to some of their heads.

Flight SG-945 eventually made a safe landing at its destination Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport.

Passengers were immediately taken to hospital where most were given first-aid and discharged.

At least eight people who sustained head and back injuries are still undergoing treatment but are out of danger.

The airline said the turbulence was caused by a thunderstorm nearby.

“The problem occurred due to air turbulence by a Nor'Wester locally called Kalbaishakh,” the airline said in a statement, referring to a recurring local storm.

“Due to severe turbulence, injuries were caused to a few passengers. Timely medical assistance was provided upon arrival."

A 42-second clip filmed by a passenger and shared on social media showed the terrifying moment after the plane hit the turbulence, leaving several cups, packets and bottles strewn on the floor and oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling.

Panicked passengers could be heard screaming for help as staff tried to reassure them.

The airline said the pilots had made a series of announcements about the turbulence and crew members had instructed passengers to “remain seated”.

One passenger Mohammad Shahzan recounted the horror when the plane lurched, “tilting to this side and that side”.

He said the impact of the turbulence was such that some seat belts were torn apart, causing injuries to passengers.

“The flight was descending when it started trembling … some people got hurt after they fell backwards off their seats because the seat belts had been torn. Others got head injuries as luggage fell on them,” Mr Shahzan told a local news channel.

National regulatory body the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has launched an inquiry.

Updated: May 02, 2022, 12:00 PM