Seven hurt as Virgin flight hits turbulence on Sydney descent

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong passengers on a Virgin Atlantic flight had a terrifying descent into Sydney airport yesterday morning when the Airbus A340-600 ran into turbulence.

One passenger and six cabin crew were treated for injuries after the plane hit turbulence at 3,000 metres just before 7.30am, a Hong Kong resident surnamed Law told a television station.

Mr Law said the experience had left his niece shaken. She was one of the injured crew members.

'They were thrown up and down and got hit,' he said. 'My niece even passed out. She received some stitches in a hospital but has already left.

'They [the family] are really worried. My elder sister was hysterical.' The sister was flown to Sydney last night.

The VS200 flight goes through Hong Kong from London, and then on to Sydney. The injured cabin crew and the passenger were treated after landing, but they have since been released.

A spokesman for the airline said the plane was less than half full, with 138 passengers on board as well as 19 crew members. The plane can hold 308 passengers, but the route is experiencing its low-season.

The weather in Sydney yesterday morning was not particularly bad, with westerly winds of up to 23km/h and cloudy skies.

'But what happens at 10,000 feet is often a lot different from what happens on the ground,' the spokesman said.

The captain had anticipated some turbulence and had switched on the seat-belt sign for the descent.

'Pilots try to avoid this, but sometime they can't,' the airline spokesman said.

The incident would not have any effect on other Sydney to Hong Kong flight schedules, the Virgin spokesman said.