The Delta Airlines flight experienced the terrifying turbulence as it was headed to Seattle, Washington, from Santa Ana, California. Five people were injured during the severe turbulence and the pilot was forced to perform an emergency landing in Reno, Nevada. Three of the injured passengers were taken to the hospital after landing.
A video posted on Twitter by one of the passengers shows liquid splattered on the ceiling and a beverage cart on its side in the middle of the aisle.
Passenger Joe Justice wrote on Twitter: “Crazy turbulence and injuries, but the @delta crew handled it perfectly, even the emergency landing.
“We did a nose dive, twice.”
The flight was being operated by Compass Airlines and had 59 passengers and four crew members on board.
The uninjured passengers were provided pizza and soda as they waited for their next flight to their original destination.
Barbara Belcher, another passenger, wrote on Twitter the flight was “scary”.
She said: “Delta 5673 because of turbulence flight diverted to Reno today.
“Chaotic and scary but people showed up as their best selves.”
Passenger Dave Macias wrote on Instagram after the flight: “I’ve been on a lot of flights over the last year and a half and this was by far the wildest flight I’ve ever been on.
“Thanks @delta and @#renoairport for making the best out of a horrible situation and getting us squared away as quick as possible.”
Delta said in a statement: “We apologise for this experience as we get customers to Seattle.”
A winter storm warning is in effect for the Lake Tahoe area through 11pm Thursday.
The National Weather Service warned pilots to beware of “dangerous flying conditions” in the lee of Sierra over the next few days.