The flight was nearly 45 minutes away from landing when it encountered a patch of rough air
Passengers on board a recent flight from Istanbul to New York were close to landing when their flight encountered severe turbulence.
According to ABC News, a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 329 people, including 21 crew members, was flying over Maine, about 45 minutes from their final destination, when they ran into a patch of very bumpy air
“It kind of jolted pretty quickly,” passenger Amir Mehrbakhsh told ABC News. “There was like one or two seconds when it was subtle, but then it really started to pick up. … Just because the drop was so sudden, a lot of people got lifted up and hit their head either on the ceiling or on the side of the plane, and so there were a lot of injuries pretty quickly.”
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that an emergency was declared in flight, and passengers report that the turbulence lasted for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Passenger Sead Nikaj told the New York Times that he was sitting in his seat when oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and he watched the women next to him fly out of her seat as other passengers banged their heads and began screaming.
“I said, ‘God help me,’” he told the Times.
Nikaj told ABC News that he didn’t hear an announcement over the plane’s intercom.
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“Nobody announced it or anything like that so we figured out something was wrong,” Nikaj said. “Then I see people start flying on the plane. Then seeing blood all over. I had one of the ladies next to me, she really fell down from her seat on the floor and all her back was completely bloody, while someone that was working in the airplane, she cracked her leg I think completely.”
Nikaj told the Times that passengers were instructed to put on their seat belts amid the turbulence, and after the rough air, the pilot told the passengers that everything was under control. About 10 minutes after the pilot’s announcement, the plane landed, Nikaj said.
“Until we parked it, I couldn’t believe we were alive,” he said.
The FAA tells PEOPLE in a statement that the incident is currently under investigation.
After the flight landed safely at JFK, many people were treated on site at the airport, and ambulances lined up outside. In total, at least 30 people were transported to local hospitals, Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees operations at JFK, told PEOPLE.
Coleman confirmed that a flight attendant broke her leg, and the rest of the injuries sustained were minor “bumps, bruises and cuts.”
Turkish Airlines did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.