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3 hospitalized after Hawaiian Airlines flight hits ‘unexpected severe turbulence’

Three flight attendants and four passengers were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Sydney over July 4th weekend when the plane “encountered unexpected severe turbulence,” the airline said in a statement.

The incident occurred about five hours into the nearly 11-hour-long flight, which departed Honolulu around 1 p.m. HST on Friday.

“Our immediate priority is to continue to care for our passengers and crew affected by this turbulence event, and we thank Sydney airport first responders for their swift assistance,” Hawaiian Airlines said.

One of the passengers onboard, Melissa Matheson, told Australian media outlet 10 News First, that the flight became “really rocky, like really, really rocky for about probably a minute and then we just dropped.”

Georgia Matheson told the news station she saw passengers in the back of the plane with “ice packs on their heads.”

“It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Melissa Matheson said.

The Airbus A330 aircraft landed at Sydney Airport without incident on Friday at 7:47 p.m. local time, according to the airlines.

Three injured passengers were evaluated and released by airport medical personnel, Hawaiian Airlines said.

A New South Wales ambulance spokesperson told The Guardian that 12 patients were assessed at the scene and three were hospitalized for injuries such as back pain.

Before returning to Honolulu from Sydney that night, the aircraft underwent inspection.

Airlines had been warned of strong winds causing potential flight disruptions on Saturday. On Friday, about 100 cancelled flights and many more delays left passengers stranded at Sydney Airport.

This article originally appeared on USA Today Travel.

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