MADRID: Fourteen people had to be treated for injuries in Madrid after a flight operated by Spanish charter airline Evelop ran into severe turbulence en route from Mauritius, a company official who declined to be identified said on Wednesday (Aug 21).
The A330-343 Airbus aircraft landed safely at its original destination in Madrid's Barajas airport on Tuesday night after suffering a 15-second episode of clear air turbulence that made the aircraft plummet a few hundred metres in the sky over Ethiopia.
Three crew members were among those injured, all of them lightly. The company source said the 11 passengers had ignored the seat belt warning activated before the plane flew into the turbulence zone.
El Mundo newspaper on Wednesday quoted one passenger as saying the plunge had sent various people "flying towards the ceiling and floating in the air, like you see in the movies".
"We all thought we were going to die," he told El Mundo, adding that upon the safe landing the passengers applauded the crew and hugged each other.
One passenger, who gave only her first name, Mar, told news radio Cadena Ser that the plane "plunged like when you are at a fairground attraction."
"We saw many passengers fly literally over the seats, some hit the ceiling, others the seats beside them," she added.
The airline said the seat belt warning activated before the plane flew into the turbulence zone.
Evelop, which is based in Spain's Balearic Islands, operates short and long haul flights out of Spain and Portugal on behalf of tour operators.