An airplane flies over the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, during the COP27 climate conference in Egypt


  • The turbulence sent some passengers flying out of their seats
  • At least one reportedly hit the ceiling of the plane
  • An official said 36 people in total on the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu received treatment

Eleven people were seriously injured when a flight from Arizona to Hawaii Sunday encountered severe turbulence about 30 minutes outside Honolulu, an emergency response agency confirmed.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services director Jim Ireland said 36 people in total on the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu received treatment, the Associated Press reported.

Of this figure, 20 people were taken to hospitals, including 11 people who were in serious condition. The other nine were in stable condition.

"We are also very happy and we feel fortunate that there were not any deaths or other critical injuries. And we're also very hopeful that all will recover and make a full recovery," Ireland said.

The passengers who received treatment ranged in age from 14 months to adults, Arizona's Family reported. They were treated for serious head injuries, lacerations, bruises and loss of consciousness, among other injuries.

The turbulence sent some of the passengers flying out of their seats, and at least one hit the ceiling.

Passenger Kaylee Reyes told Hawaii News Now that her mother had just sat down and did not get the chance to buckle her safety belt when the turbulence hit.

"She flew up and hit the ceiling," Reyes said.

During a Sunday news conference, Hawaiian Airlines' chief operating officer Jon Snook said the airline hasn't experienced "an incident of this nature in recent history."

The flight carried 278 passengers and 10 crew members. The injured included three flight attendants, Snook said.

The plane landed safely in Honolulu at about 10:50 a.m. Sunday, according to the airline.

The airline official called the incident an isolated and unusual event.

Several photos and videos circulating on social media showed the moment turbulence hit the flight and its aftermath.

Shortly before the aircraft landed, several firefighters, paramedics and the state Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team rushed to the airport for the "mass casualty emergency," meeting the aircraft at Gate 10A.

The National Weather Service said the severe turbulence occurred at about 36,000 feet.

"We believe the flight may have gone through a thunderstorm, which may have caused the severe turbulence," said National Weather Service meteorologist Genki Kino, according to Arizona's Family. "During that time, there were scattered thunderstorms everywhere."

Thomas Vaughan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said that there had been a weather advisory out for thunderstorms that included Oahu and areas that would have included the flight path at the time of the incident.

Representational image (airplane)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / juno1412) Source: Pixabay / juno1412