At least 12 passengers and three cabin crew members were injured after the SpiceJet Boeing B737 aircraft, operating from Mumbai to Durgapur, encountered severe turbulence during descent on Sunday following extreme weather conditions.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) this morning said it has ordered a regulatory investigation into the incident.
"Some of the passengers sustained head injuries and received stitches, while one passenger said he suffered a spinal injury in the mishap," the DGCA said.
"We are deputing teams for regulatory investigation, while medical reports of the injured passengers are awaited," it added.
Visuals, which captured the terrifying moments, showed the belongings of passengers scattered on the floor, while an air hostess tried to calm and reassure the passengers when the aircraft began to hobble.
One passenger said their masks came off during the mid-air turbulence and the cabin baggage fell on many of them, leading to head injuries.
"There were three jerks during the descent. It was more intense than what happens in a car," said another passenger.
The flight, however, landed safely at Durgapur airport in West Bengal and the injured were immediately taken to the hospital for treatment by the airline staff.
Meanwhile, SpiceJet has expressed regret over the incident.
"Eleven passengers travelling on SpiceJet flight SG-945 from Mumbai to Durgapur on May 1, which encountered severe turbulence during descent which unfortunately resulted in injuries to a few passengers, were hospitalised. Eight of those hospitalised have been discharged so far," the spokesperson said today.
"The seat belt sign was on when the aircraft encountered turbulence. Multiple announcements were made by the pilots and the crew instructing passengers to remain seated and keep their seat belts fastened," the spokesperson mentioned.