Feb 18, 2014 12:00 AM by Q2 News
BILLINGS - After a turbulent flight into Billings where three flight attendants and two passengers were hospitalized, all but one flight attendant has been released.
Paramedics responded to a runway to assist crew members and passengers of the plane at Billings Logan International Airport shortly after it landed.
United Airlines issued this official statement Monday afternoon on flight 1676:
"The flight encountered severe turbulence upon descent into Billings, Mont. Three crew members and a number of passengers were injured. Our primary focus is assisting our employees and passengers who were injured, and our flight safety team will review what happened."
Passenger accounts also helped fill in some of the details.
Bill Dahlin, a passenger aboard the flight, said the plane dropped sharply, without warning from the crew, as it began its decent into Billings.
"There was a lot of screaming, a lot of hollering," Dahlin told Q2.
He said the crew was just as surprised as the passengers at the sudden drop.
"I think they were somewhat panicked," Dahlin said. "I think they were trying to assess things themselves so they really didn't offer any explanation because of what happened so quickly."
He said one woman hit the ceiling so hard it cracked the panel above her head. Another woman called out for her baby, which he took as an indication that she had lost control of her infant.
"I have flown a lot, and I do know you run into things like this," Dahlin said. "This [turbulence] happened to be a lot rougher than what I'm accustomed to."
Dahlin says he was uninjured during the flight.
Two other passengers, Laurel Linde and her son Grant, were traveling back home to Billings from football camp and say their experience was terrifying.
Grant said he felt the plane all of a sudden "kind of bank to the right and then it felt like we got hit from the bottom."
"I was scared," Linde said. "It was really scary for me."
And once the plane landed, passengers were left with more questions than answers.
"Nobody was really expecting, and I do mean nobody," Grant's mother Laurel, told Q2. "I think the flight crew was probably in the same boat we were."
United Airlines says its Flight Safety Team will investigate what happened.