Strong turbulence has left 27 people severely shaken-up after an Aeroflot flight from hell. Fifteen passengers on the Boeing 777 from Moscow to Bangkok were hospitalized; injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
Twenty-seven passengers suffered injuries ranging from bruises to fractures after their Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Bangkok hit turbulence Monday. In a statement, Russia's embassy to Thailand announced that Flight SU270 had hit an air pocket on its approach to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and that those injured had not worn seat belts.
In a statement, Aeroflot claimed that flight attendants could not warn the roughly 300 passengers in time to return to their seats as the Boeing 777 had experienced "clear-air turbulence" - meaning it occurred under pristine, cloud-free skies - shortly before the plane landed at midnight.
'Into the roof'
Phone footage broadcast by Russia's Rossiya 24 state television channel showed a scene of chaos inside the cabin, with injured passengers on the floor, smears of blood on luggage racks and oxygen masks hanging down.
"We were hurled up into the roof of the plane," a passenger who gave her first name as Yevgenia told Rossiya 24 by phone. "It was practically impossible to hold on. She added: "It felt like the shaking wouldn't stop, that we would just crash."
Twenty-four of the passengers injured on Monday have Russian citizenship and ranged in age from 1 to 69 years old, with up to 15 going to the hospital and three requiring surgery. Three are Thai, two of whom reportedly required treatment.
Russians tend to head abroad this time of year, facilitated by a pair of early-May public holidays. Ever-warm Thailand has become a popular destination for travelers looking for better conditions than those of their still-frigid homeland.
Last year more than 1 million Russians visited Thailand, most flocking to the southern beach resorts. Aeroflot runs its Moscow-to-Bangkok service twice daily.
mkg/tj (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)