40 people injured after Air Europa flight experiences heavy turbulence, diverted to Brazil

Written by on July 2, 2024


(SAO GONCALO DO AMARANTE, Brazil) — Forty people were injured, some seriously, after an Air Europa flight from Spain to Uruguay experienced strong turbulence and was diverted to Brazil, officials said.

Flight UX045 experienced “heavy” turbulence early Monday morning but landed safely at Natal International Airport in São Gonçalo do Amarante, the airline said. The plane requested an emergency landing around 2:32 a.m. local time, according to the airport.

Thirty people received medical care at the airport, while 10 had to be transported to the hospital for further examination, the airport confirmed to ABC News Monday night.

Seven passengers remain hospitalized in serious but not life-threatening condition, Air Europa confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday morning.

Some passengers were hurtled toward the ceiling of the cabin, the airline said.

Passenger videos showed damage to the cabin of the plane and injured passengers in neck braces lying on their backs in the aisle. In one video, a man could be seen dangling from an overhead compartment, though it is unclear how he ended up there.

The flight had departed Madrid-Barajas and was en route to Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, when the incident occurred, according to the airline. Natal was the closest airport to address the passengers’ medical needs, the airline said.

“Due to the nature of the turbulence and for safety reasons, it was decided to divert the flight to Natal International Airport in Brazil,” the airline said.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was carrying 325 passengers at the time.

Passengers in good condition were transported to Recife, where a plane that departed Madrid arrived early Tuesday to continue their trip to Montevideo, Air Europa said.

The original aircraft is not in use and will be examined, the airline said.

The incident remains under investigation.

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