Panic broke out on American Airlines flight 2713 as an instance of turbulence shook and rattled the plane and the passengers aboard.
While no one was seriously injured, a total of 30 people were treated for bumps and bruises, and three of those people were even taken to the Arima Health Facility for treatment.
Sources said at 9 pm on Wednesday the pilots of the flight contacted the Air Traffic Controller tower at Piarco International Airport, to advise that they experienced severe turbulence while en route from Miami to Port of Spain.
The pilots requested that medical assistance be on standby upon their arrival, because there had been several people on the flight who had been injured.
Emergency response services were alerted and when the flight touched down at about 9.33 pm, they sprung into action by assisting the injured passengers out of the plane, and treating their injuries.
Two of the three people who were taken to the Arima Health Facility were treated and released at about 2 am today.
Frightened passengers took to social media yesterday to lament on their traumatising experience.
“It was the scariest moment of our lives!” said one passenger on Facebook “If you only knew what happened inside that plane. For a few moments we all thought that was it.”
The passenger then thanked God that they all made it back safely.
Another passenger shared the same sentiment on a Facebook post.
“I hope I never have to encounter this again in my lifetime...” said the other passenger, “I maintain that it was not just turbulence that caused this.”
Sources told Newsday yesterday that the plane could have experienced an instance of “clear air turbulence” – turbulent movement of air masses in the absence of any visual clues such as clouds. Just like regular turbulence it is caused when bodies of air moving at widely different speeds meet.
Sources said that it is the usual policy when observing evidence of turbulence, to ensure that all passengers have their seatbelts on, and keep them on until the plane lands. Newsday was told that if the pilots of the plane saw any indication that there would be turbulence, they would immediately defer to protocol.
American Airlines officials in Trinidad declined to comment on the matter.