28 passengers and two crew members were being evaluated on the scene for non-life threatening injuries just before 6 p.m. Ten people were taken to the hospital. Some passengers hit their heads on the ceiling of the plane.
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Passengers say the heart-pounding turbulence lasted for about six minutes. When it was over, every other row had someone either injured or bleeding. Officials say severe turbulence caused bruises, cuts, a broken leg and gashes on some passengers' heads.
An apparent airline crew member was seen limping out of the terminal with a bandage around his leg.
Several small children were also in need of medical attention.
The plane with 326 passengers on board was over Maine when it happened.
The National Weather Service had issued turbulence advisories, but no one expected this.
The FAA released a statement saying,
Turkish Airlines Flight 1, Boeing 777, landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 5:35 p.m. after declaring an emergency and reporting that several passengers were injured when the aircraft encountered turbulence. Check with the Port Authority of NY and NJ for information about the number of injuries and medical response to the aircraft after it landed. The flight originated in Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines also released a statement:
Turkish Airlines confirms that its TK01 Istanbul - New York Flight encountered an unusual turbulence about 40 minutes before landing at New York JFK Airport. The Boeing 777 type aircraft, which had taken off from Istanbul with 326 passengers and 18 crew members, landed safely at the airport at 5.35pm Saturday, after experienced the said turbulence. 28 passengers onboard and 2 cabin staff, who had sustained non-life threatening injuries, were taken to the hospital upon the flight's landing, for their overall control. Turkish Airlines, the airline whose top priority is safety and passenger well-being, is deeply saddened by this unfortunate experience, and closely monitors the health status of injured passengers, and is making resourses available to them.