Multiple people were hospitalized after a Lufthansa flight had to make an emergency landing Wednesday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia due to turbulence, officials said.
Lufthansa Flight No. 469 from Austin, Texas, to Frankfurt, Germany, was diverted and landed at Dulles at 9:10 p.m. EST after the plane experienced “severe turbulence” while over Tennessee, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement to CBS News.
The Airbus A330 was at an altitude of about 37,000 feet when the turbulence occurred, the FAA said.
Seven people were transported to local hospitals, Dulles airport told CBS News in a statement.
The plane was carrying 172 passengers and 12 crew members aboard, including actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife, CBS News learned.
Passenger Georgiy Nazaruk told CBS News Thursday that “I thought I was gonna die.”
“Everyone went silent, it was just trashed all over, a lot of food thrown around … it was just really wild,” Nazaruk said.
Lufthansa told CBS News in a second statement Thursday that the flight experienced what is known as “clear air turbulence,” which it said “can occur without visible weather phenomena or advance warning.”
“The fact that there was meal service going on on this plane, would indicate to me at least, that there must not have been much of an advanced warning,” transportation safety expert Robert Sumwalt said.
The FAA is investigating.
On Wednesday afternoon, a Spirit Airlines flight bound for Orlando, Florida, was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville after the crew reported a battery fire in an overhead bin, the FAA said. One person was taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.