Seven people on a Lufthansa flight from Texas to Germany were taken to hospitals Wednesday after the plane experienced “significant turbulence” and diverted to a Washington, D.C., area airport, officials said.
Lufthansa Flight 469 was flying from Austin to Frankfurt when it encountered the turbulence and landed at Dulles International Airport in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said.
The plane landed safely at the airport at 9:12 p.m., the agency said.
Lufthansa said the Airbus A330-300 “encountered brief but severe turbulence about 90 minutes after takeoff.”
“Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers. The safety and well-being of passengers and crew members is Lufthansa’s top priority at all times,” the airline said in an emailed statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew reported encountering severe turbulence around 37,000 feet, while the aircraft was over Tennessee. The FAA said it will investigate.
Seven passengers were taken to hospitals, the authority said.
One passenger told NBC Washington that a flight attendant who was serving drinks when the plane dropped.
“He was literally standing up serving drinks, so he had no way to brace himself,” Jazz Kantipudi told the station. “At one of the drops, he literally, completely, hit the ceiling and dropped down and was completely horizontal.”
Actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, were also on board.
Camila McConaughey said on Instagram that the plane dropped almost 4,000 feet, that “everything was flying everywhere,” and that the turbulence seemed to keep on coming.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News that the couple was on the flight, and said that it was a frightening experience for everyone.
Turbulence, which the National Weather Service describes as irregular motion of the air resulting from eddies and vertical currents, sometimes sends passengers to hospitals and forces unexpected landings.
In December, 25 people on a Hawaiian Airlines flight were hurt after a flight from Phoenix to Honolulu experienced turbulence. Eight people were hurt in June during a flight from Florida to Tennessee, which diverted to Alabama.