Two Flight Attendants and Six Passengers Injured After Flight Hits Sudden Severe Turbulence

An American Airlines flight from Tampa was diverted to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport after it hit turbulence over the Pensacola area

An American Airlines jet taxis to the runway
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

An American Airlines flight had to be diverted this week due to severe turbulence that left several injured.

The flight was headed from Tampa, Florida, to Nashville on Wednesday with 56 passengers onboard, and was forced to land in Birmingham, Alabama, after hitting unexpected turbulence over the Pensacola area of the Florida Panhandle, officials said per the Associated Press. The plane landed at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

"The Embraer E175 landed without incident at 3:17 p.m. CT and safely taxied to the gate. Two flight attendants and six passengers were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation," American Airlines said in a statement.

Kim Hunt, Public Information Officer at the Alabama-Shuttlesworth airport, told PEOPLE, "We get calls about turbulence and at times deal with some level of injury, not often, but [Wednesday's incident] and having more than one or two people injured is certainly unusual." Hunt added, "landing here was much safer than had they gone on to Nashville."

People waiting in Chicagos Ohare International airport late in the day with an American Airlines plane parked at a gate in the background.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service responded to the scene at 3:15 p.m., fire Capt. Orlando Reynolds told news outlets, adding that at least seven people taken to a local hospital complained of neck and back pain.

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American Airlines said another aircraft would be arriving at the airport Wednesday to continue to its intended destination, per AP.

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