Turbulence hospitalizes passengers on D.C.-to-Qatar plane

The Qatar Airways flight experienced severe turbulence while flying across the Atlantic Ocean.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  Dec. 5, 2016 at 8:37 AM
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LAJES , Portugal, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Three passengers traveling from Washington, D.C., to Doha, Qatar, were hospitalized after their flight made an emergency landing in Portugal's Azores islands, hospital officials said.

Qatar Airways flight QR708 landed at Lajes Airport early Sunday with 356 passengers aboard, about five hours after the plane departed Dulles International Airport. Passengers said the emergency landing was prompted by three minutes of severe turbulence as the plane flew over the Atlantic Ocean. One person aboard the plane, Raseel Mohamed, told The Washington Post that when the plane was rocked, passengers' heads struck overhead bins, one passenger fell to the floor and several people were tossed around the cabin.

Another passenger reported a person aboard the plane suffered what was believed to be a heart attack, but the Council of the Third Hospital Administration, the hospital at Lajes, said that, of the three people who arrived at the emergency department, two were discharged after observation and the third will not require significant care.

The Portuguese air force confirmed a "medical emergency of a civil aircraft" at Lajes.

The airline said Sunday it was securing hotel accommodations and visa arrangements in the Azores for passengers requiring them, adding that another plane was sent to the Azores to bring the passengers to Doha.

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