7 passengers Injured on Flight From Dominican Republic

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A Pittsburgh-bound flight changed course to Fort Lauderdale after some passengers and crew members were injured when the plane hit severe turbulence Thursday afternoon. Allegiant Air’s flight 7001 took off from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in the early afternoon and landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport around 2:30 p.m., according to the flight-tracking website, Flight Aware.

“Initial reports from our crew indicate that it was unreported moderate clear air turbulence that caused the injuries and subsequent diversion,” the airline said in an e-mail.

First responders boarded the plane and treated seven patients, including four flight attendants and three passengers, according to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles. Injuries varied from bruises and cuts to head injuries and a “possible facial fracture,” Jachles said.

Passenger Amanda Kuhn, who took cellphone video during the incident, said she saw a flight attendant hit the cabin ceiling during the turbulence.

“When the plane dropped, it just dropped.  Everybody flew in the air that wasn’t in a seatbelt,”.

All seven patients, whose ages range from 20s to 50s, were taken toBroward Health Medical Center with injuries that were not life threatening, Jachles said.

The flight is a charter service operated on behalf of Apple Vacations, the airline said. There were a total of 137 passengers and six crew members on board, the airline said. Passengers were cleared through customs in Fort Lauderdale while the airline made new flight arrangements. They left Fort Lauderdale shortly after 8:30 p.m.

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