Australia: 'Absolutely violent': The moment Air Canada plane 'dropped from the sky' - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia'Absolutely violent': The moment Air Canada plane 'dropped from the sky'

09:01  12 july  2019
09:01  12 july  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Video provided by Associated Press

A guitarist in an Australian band on board a Sydney-bound Air Canada flight that was diverted to Hawaii after turbulence threw passengers into the ceiling has described the "absolutely violent" moment the Boeing 777 seemingly dropped from the sky.

Tim Hickey, from Newcastle band Hurricane Fall, said he and his fellow bandmates were looking forward to getting home after touring Canada for about three weeks, and were on the last leg of their journey back when the turbulence struck.

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Nearly 40 Air Canada passengers are injured after plane headed for Australia 'suddenly dropped and threw people out of their seats' when unexpected The violent turbulence shook the plane and threw passengers out of their seats, leading some to hit the ceiling. Turbulence struck at 36,000 feet in air

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"I remember it very vividly: one of the stewardesses was walking up with the trolley when the big drop hit and she went flying and the cart went up in the air and there [was] coffee all over the ceiling," he said.

"I just saw everyone in the cabin that wasn't wearing a seatbelt - [they] basically flew up into the air and smacked the roof. It was horrifying - absolutely violent."

As many as 37 people on board, including passengers and flight crew members, were injured when flight AC33 encountered "sudden turbulence" at 36,000 feet, two hours past Hawaii, Air Canada said.

'Absolutely violent': The moment Air Canada plane 'dropped from the sky'© Hurricane Fall/Luke Wheeldon Tim Hickey, far left, was on board the plane with band Hurricane Fall (pictured) when the turbulence struck. Hickey said that, in the minute before the turbulence, which caused panels and oxygen masks to drop, the plane was trembling, but there was otherwise no indication of the chaos that was to come.

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"You don't really have any perception of how far you're dropping in the air but I would've said it could've been up to just a 50-metre straight drop in the air pocket," he said.

"It was just this scene from a horror movie inside an airplane and we're still flying and no one really knew what was happening.

"People next to me were asking me if I had tissues or napkins because they were just bleeding."

It took several minutes before the captain spoke over the intercom to inform passengers they had not seen the turbulence on the radar and had "no warning this kind of air drop was going to happen".

The plane was diverted to Honolulu and landed at 1.45am on Friday Sydney time.

Emergency personnel on the ground were ready to assist the 269 passengers and 15 crew members on board. At least two dozen people were taken to hospital with cuts, bumps, bruises, and neck and back pain, Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said.

Hickey's bandmate and bass guitarist Pepper Deroy was among those taken to hospital with nerve damage to his right arm. He was released from hospital the same day and is now recuperating in a Waikiki hotel ⁠- but he won't be able to play with the band when they resume touring in Australia.

In the meantime, Hickey said the band would head to the beach and try to "find a silver lining" before they hit the road again. He said they were told they would be flying out on Saturday afternoon.

"We're all still waiting to get settled [in the hotel] and have that first pina colada, seeing as we're in Waikiki."

Air Canada continued to make accommodation, meal and flight arrangements for those passengers affected on Friday.

with AP

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