40 injured after Air Europa plane experiences severe turbulence, diverted to Brazil

The plane was en route from Spain to Uruguay when it was diverted to Brazil.

Forty people were injured, some seriously, after an Air Europa flight from Spain to Uruguay experienced severe turbulence, forcing it to divert to Brazil, officials said.

The Brazilian airline said flight UX045 experienced “severe” turbulence early Monday morning but landed safely at Natal International Airport in Sao Goncalo do Amarante. The plane requested an emergency landing at around 2:32 a.m. local time, according to the airport.

The airport confirmed to ABC News on Monday evening that 30 people received medical care at the airport, while 10 were taken to the hospital for further testing.

Air Europa confirmed to ABC News Tuesday morning that seven passengers remained in hospital in serious but non-life-threatening condition.

The airline said some passengers fell toward the ceiling of the cabin.

Videos from the plane’s passengers showed damage to the cabin, and injured passengers in neck braces lying on their backs in the aisle. In one video, a man can be seen dangling from an overhead compartment, though it’s unclear how he ended up there.

The plane had departed Madrid-Barajas and was en route to Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, when the accident occurred, according to the airline. The airline said Natal Airport was the closest airport to accommodate the passengers’ medical needs.

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“Due to the nature of the disturbances and for safety reasons, it was decided to divert the flight to Natal International Airport in Brazil,” the airline said.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was carrying 325 passengers at the time.

Air Europa said passengers who were in good condition were taken to Recife, where a plane arrived that left Madrid early Tuesday morning to continue its journey to Montevideo.

The airline said the original aircraft was not in use and would be inspected.

The incident is still under investigation.

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