26 hurt as plane from Paris is hit by turbulence in China

BEIJING • At least 26 people were injured, four of them seriously, when a China Eastern Airlines flight from Paris was hit by turbulence yesterday over south-west China, the second headline-grabbing incident the airline encountered in a week.

The incident happened when Flight MU744 from Charles de Gaulle Airport was descending to land at Kunming Changshui International Airport in Yunnan province, Xinhua news agency said.

Passengers are being treated for bone fractures, scalp lacerations and soft-tissue injuries caused by falling baggage or collisions with overhead lockers, it cited local hospitals as saying.

A slightly injured passenger surnamed Zhang was quoted as saying: "We felt strong turbulence twice and minor turbulence three times. The process lasted about 10 minutes."

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The nationalities of the other injured passengers are unclear.

China Eastern Airlines said on its official microblog account that it has arranged medical services but gave no other details. "(We) remind all passengers, for your safety, please fasten safety belts," it said.

The plane landed around 9am yesterday, an hour later than scheduled, Xinhua reported. An injured passenger surnamed Shang was quoted as saying: "We applauded when the plane landed safely. We were lucky the plane did not crash."

The incident came a week after another China Eastern plane made an emergency landing in Sydney, after a huge hole appeared in one of its engine casings and forced it to turn back just after taking off.

Terrified passengers described a very loud noise soon after flight MU736 left Sydney Airport for Shanghai on the night of June 11. No one aboard the twin-engine Airbus A330 was injured.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline '26 hurt as plane from Paris is hit by turbulence in China'. Print Edition | Subscribe