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'Severe turbulence' injures 20 on flight to Hong Kong

Thirteen passengers and three crew members were injured by "severe turbulence" while en route from Johannesburg to Hong Kong on Wednesday.
By JC Finley   |   July 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM   |   Comments

HONG KONG, July 16 (UPI) -- South African Airways Flight 286, which originated in Johannesburg, encountered "severe turbulence" four hours before it landed in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Twenty people were injured by the turbulence, with two originally listed in critical condition but later upgraded to stable condition. The injured included 17 passengers and three crew members, between the ages of 21 and 63.

The turbulence rattled the Airbus as it flew over Malaysia. Lasting several minutes, it threw passengers into the air, resulting in head and neck injuries.

Businessman David Mkumbuje, who bumped and scratched his head during the rough patch, said "It was like the end of the world."

According to a Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman, "The pilot radioed our control tower saying it was continuing its journey to Hong Kong rather than diverting into another city and requested medical assistance upon landing."

The flight was met by 14 ambulances upon landing at Chek Lap Kok.

Malaysian authorities are leading an investigation into the incident, the Civil Aviation Department noted.

One hundred and sixty-five passengers were aboard SA286.

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