Passengers Recount Jolts of Turbulence in Chinese Airliner Ed: UPDATES throughout with
Apr. 07, 1993
Passengers Recount Jolts of Turbulence in Chinese Airliner Ed: UPDATES throughout with patients' conditions; airplane arriving to take uninjured to Los Angeles. Additional color. No pickup.
SHEMYA AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AP) _ Passengers aboard a Chinese airliner forced to make an emergency landing in Alaska described a harrowing 30 seconds of turbulence that buffeted the jet. One person died and 150 were injured.
''Everybody was lifted off their seat,'' said Xia Ming Xu, a Los Angeles businessman who was returning there Tuesday aboard the Chinese Eastern Airlines flight.
Approximately 150 passengers were airlifted by five military planes to Anchorage, where they were hospitalized.
Many of the passengers were in serious condition, officials at four hospitals said today.
Reported injuries included bruises, a bloodied nose, and injuries to the back, head, shoulders and torso. Authorities did not know the cause of death for the one fatality, a middle-aged man.
The flight, with 265 passengers aboard - almost all of them Chinese - originated in Shanghai, China and was bound for Los Angeles. Its crew made a distress call requesting permission to land Tuesday at Shemya, a highly classified radar site at the western tip of the Aleutian Islands, the Air Force said.
Passengers who spoke through an Army interpreter said there was no warning that turbulence was ahead. Several said they were not wearing seatbelts.
A safety investigator said seat frames on the plane were bent and the ceiling crushed. The plane landed without incident by moonlight at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, said Col. David Storey.
A Chinese Eastern jetliner arrived at Shemya early today to fly the 107 uninjured passengers to Los Angeles, the Federal Aviation Authority said.
The plane would stop in Anchorage to pick up any of the injured passengers well enough to complete the trip, the FAA said.