United flight to Newark diverted to Stewart Airport due to turbulence; 7 people injured

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Saturday, March 30, 2024
Several injured after Newark flight diverts due to turbulence
Josh Einiger has more on the tense moments when a United flight experienced turbulence and had to divert.

ORANGE COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Several people had to be hospitalized after a United Airlines flight headed to Newark International Airport in New Jersey was diverted to an airport in Orange County, New York on Friday, due to turbulence.

Over 300 passengers and crew members were aboard United Airlines Flight 85 from Tel Aviv to Newark when it was diverted to Stewart International Airport around 6:45 p.m. due to "high winds and turbulence," according to officials.

Eyewitness News was told the plane was cleared to land in Newark after its 11-hour flight from Israel, but pilots called a "go-around" when they were about 750 feet off the ground.

They told air traffic controllers they had experienced "wind shear," which is a sudden change in wind direction, and decided to abort the landing.

Passengers say they began to fear the worst when the routine flight became a roller coaster.

"Oh, it was really like Six Flags," said passenger Roi Gonen. "My heart just jumped a couple times. I was texting my wife just in case."

Gonen said panic began to set in among the passengers.

"Two seats behind me I saw a woman vomiting," he said.

Low on fuel, the pilots diverted to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, where paramedics met the flight, and tended to more than two dozen people who were sickened in the air.

Seven passengers were taken to Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall with minor injuries, some which reported possible motion sickness, according to New Windsor EMS.

"We had 320 people on the plane," said Michael Bigg of New Windsor EMS. "We evaluated about 30 people and we transported seven to a local hospital just for observation, no major injuries or ailments but most people want to get checked out at the emergency room."

Ambulances brought the most severely ill to an area hospital, while the plane refueled for a quick and relatively uneventful flight to Newark.

Passengers said it was an ordeal they would all like to forget.


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