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Severe turbulence injures almost three dozen on Air Canada flight

The flight was heading from Vancouver to Sydney.
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Almost three dozen people aboard an Air Canada flight to Australia were injured by severe turbulence that forced pilots to land in Honolulu on Thursday, the airline said.

Flight 33, scheduled to go from Vancouver to Sydney touched down at Honolulu International Airport at 6:45 a.m. local time due to "un-forecasted and sudden turbulence approximately two hours past Hawaii," according to an Air Canada statement.

"After examination, it now appears that 35 customers sustained minor injuries," the airline said.

At least nine people were taken to hospitals, medical personnel told NBC affiliate KHNL.

Passenger Michael Bailey said his fellow travelers screamed in panic when the plane suddenly lost altitude.

“Must’ve dropped about 100 feet or something because we all went up to the ceiling like throughout the plane. It was pretty scary," Bailey told KHNL. “The seat in front of me, the girl hit the plastic overhead and actually snapped and broke it, and the oxygen masks came down, and a lot of panic."

The Boeing 777-200 was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew. It wasn't immediately clear when the passengers would be able to resume their journey.

Flight 33 departed Vancouver International Airport at 12:33 a.m. ET Thursday for the scheduled 15 1/2-hour journey.