updated 9/7/2007 3:57:05 PM ET 2007-09-07T19:57:05

Canada's federal transportation safety board said Friday it is looking into a Halifax-bound flight from Calgary, Alberta, that plunged several hundred feet in rough turbulence, injuring nine passengers including three who were later hospitalized.

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WestJet Flight 80 — a Boeing 737 — was north of Sudbury, Ontario, on Thursday night when it dropped without warning from an altitude of about 39,370 feet, according to the airline.

Many passengers, including some lined up at the washroom, did not have enough time to put on their seat belts.

Mike Cunningham, a representative of the Transportation Safety Board, said the independent body would seek more information from WestJet and assess whether an investigation is needed. Transport Canada spokeswoman Luci Vignola said the federal agency would review the incident and determine whether proper procedures were followed.

WestJet has categorized the turbulence as "moderate" and said there had been no warnings about turbulence in the area.

The plane was met by seven emergency vehicles, including three ambulance, on the tarmac when it landed in Halifax.

Three passengers were sent to the hospital, while six others were checked by paramedics at the airport. The condition of the hospitalized passengers was not known.

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