8 people injured in 'severe' turbulence on American flight

Six passengers and two flight attendants had to be taken to a hospital after their plane hit extreme turbulence.  The pilots declared an emergency and diverted to the nearest airport.

It happened on American Eagle flight 3609 from Tampa to Nashville on Wednesday afternoon.

American Airlines, which owns the airline, said in a statement to FOX5NY.com that the Embraer E175 hit "unexpected turbulence" at 3:17 p.m.

The flight was diverted to Alabama and landed safely at Birmingham-Shuttleworth International Airport around 3:20 p.m., according to the airline and federal officials.

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After it taxied to the gate it was met by emergency crews and the eight patients were taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

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American says that there were 52 passengers and 2 pilots along with the 2 flight attendants.

The Federal Aviation Administration told FOX5NY.com that the flight was being operated by Envoy Air.

The FAA says it will investigate the ‘severe turbulence’ incident.