Sunwing flight diverts to Helena after 'extreme' turbulence

4:03 AM, Mar 17, 2014   |    comments
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(USATODAY.com) - Passengers on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Edmonton, Canada, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, got an unexpected day in a Montana airport terminal after their flight diverted there because of extreme turbulence.

The Associated Press reports that Sunwing Flight 559 diverted to the Montana state capital at 7:30 a.m. local time Sunday morning so that medical personnel could examine a flight attendant injured during the turbulence.

The 27-year-old attendant received a cut on his head but did not require stitches. He was cleared to continue, but Canadian leisure carrier Sunwing opted to keep passengers on the ground in Montana until a replacement aircraft could be brought in Sunday afternoon, the AP reports.

There were 181 passengers and six crew members on the flight, according to AP. No passengers were injured.

Since the flight was an international one that was flying over U.S. airspace, passengers on the Sunwing's Boeing 737 were held inside the plane for more than five hours until a customs official arrived from Great Falls, about 90 miles away, according to AP.

The passengers eventually were brought inside the airport terminal, where they had to wait until the replacement plane arrived. The flight on that aircraft took off at around 6:25 p.m. local time.

As for the initial incident, passengers described a "scary" experience to AP.

"The flight attendant was just bringing a tray of champagne, and she went up in the air and the champagne went everywhere," Cathy Burden of Edmonton said to the news agency. "Nobody actually got a glass, but we all got champagne on us."

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