31 injured by severe turbulence on flight

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Several passengers aboard an Etihad Airways flight were injured Wednesday when their plane ran into sudden turbulence as it prepared to land in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

The United Arab Emirates' national airline said flight EY474, which departed from its hub in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi, was hit by "severe and unexpected turbulence" about 45 minutes before landing at Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

The plane landed safely but 31 passengers were injured, including nine who were taken to a local hospital for treatment, it said. The other 22 were being treated for minor injuries at the airport.

The airline did not provide details on the severity of the injuries, but said the turbulence was severe enough that it damaged cabin storage bins.

Haerul Anwar, a spokesman for the Jakarta airport, described nine of the injuries as serious. He said officials from the airport and Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee were inspecting the plane.

Etihad typically flies an Airbus A330-200 on the Jakarta route. Airline officials did not immediately respond to questions about the type of aircraft involved or the number of passengers onboard.

Etihad, like its older Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates, has grown rapidly in recent years primarily by luring long-haul transit passengers through its desert expanding hub. Founded in 2003, it has a good safety record and last year carried 17.6 million passengers. It holds stakes in several other airlines, including Air Berlin, Alitalia and Virgin Australia.


Associated Press Writer Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta contributed to this report.