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British Airways flight hits severe turbulence over Florida

Hillsborough County

Screaming, chaos and crying. That’s how passengers aboard a British Airways flight into Tampa describe the mayhem as the plane hit severe turbulence over Florida.

Passengers describe all-out panic as the plane got tossed around near a thunderstorm.

Two of those aboard are happy to be at their Tarpon Springs home.

“I was happy to be alive, ’cause I thought the plane crashed,” said Judith Knott.

Knott has a gash on the top of her head and a stiff neck.

She and her husband, Brian, were aboard flight 2167 Sunday afternoon as thunderstorms rolled through.

Between Orlando and Tampa, the plane hit severe turbulence. Judith slammed into the ceiling, hard.

“I just totally went to the ceiling. And didn’t really know how I was going to the ceiling. I just thought the airplane was crashing,” she said.

In all, the airborne bump injured at least 21 people, including children, with 14 of those requiring a trip to hospitals.

“We just dropped like a stone. And I’m still sitting there thinking, ‘this ain’t right,’” said Brian.

Unlike his wife, who’d made a quick bathroom trip just before the wild ride, Brian was buckled in when the plane made the sudden move.

“I’m looking up the ceiling, my wife’s up there. And it’s like an unrealistic thing. She’s fallen down, hit the seats in front of her and crashed down between the two rows of seats,” he said.

He describes total confusion as flight attendants worked to help the injured.

“There was young children, they were screaming, a lot crying,” he said.

He credits an off-duty flight attendant, seated nearby, who helped stop his wife’s bleeding.

These world travelers won’t let this episode keep them at home.

“We cruise or we fly.  We may be cruising more,” Judith said.

British Airways issued a statement that reads in part, “Our cabin crew did everything they could to look after our customers after experiencing unexpected severe turbulence. They asked paramedics to meet the aircraft.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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