Avianca passengers: “It was a miracle we survived”
Passengers tell of horror on board a plane hit by severe turbulence that left cabin crew in neck braces with head wounds, 23 hospitalised and ceiling panels broken
A shocking image has emerged that shows how two cabin crew members were left in neck braces after a flight hit severe turbulence on Saturday.
One of the crew members has blood on her shirt and was pictured separately with a huge gash on her forehead, before plasters were applied.
The severe turbulence rocked the Avianca Airbus they were on, flying from Lima in Peru to Buenos Aires in Argentina, at around 41,000ft and left 23 passengers and cabin crew members injured. One flier claimed it was 'a miracle that passengers survived'.
The image of the two flight attendants, sitting at the back of the aircraft, was posted to Twitter shortly after the plane landed.
Other images of the aftermath uploaded to the internet show injured people standing by their seats, oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and snapped and dented panels.
Another photograph that was shared shows food strewn over the floor, along with a bloodied tissue.
According to the Aviation Herald, the flight continued to Buenos Aires and landed safely about 80 minutes later.
Despite having damaged ceiling panels, the aircraft departed on a return flight six hours later.
According to a press release from Avianca the plane suffered 'from strong unexpected turbulence when passing over the Andes Mountain range around 1.11 am'.
As it passed through a stretch of bad weather, the sudden jerks of the N279AV aircraft surprised those on board, including crew who were reportedly not wearing their safety belts at the time.
Although reports from the airport confirmed that 23 people received medical attention upon arrival, the airline detailed in its communication that 12 people were injured during the flight.
According to the airline, eight crew members and four passengers received knocks and injuries during the turbulence.
Concerning those injured, Avianca commented: 'Ten people were admitted to hospital for their respective checks. Six of them have already been released with the all clear and the four remaining, all crew members, continue to receive medical attention at the clinic.'
One witness recalled how a passenger was jerked upwards and slammed their head, breaking a piece of plastic in the plane.
One passenger, Alejandro Babato, said: 'Nobody from Avianca was there to meet us when we arrived in Ezeiza to see how we were. It was a miracle we survived.'