JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
00:50
Turbulence causes injuries on Air Canada flight
Dr. James Yaingeluo
Now playing
01:19
Plane lands short of runway, crashes into sea
Now playing
01:03
See jet's white-knuckle landing attempt
courtesy larry coben
Now playing
02:16
Passenger describes being quarantined on plane
WZTV
Now playing
01:20
Passengers on plane possibly exposed to illness
burbank airport plane fight
Twitter/Nick Krause
burbank airport plane fight
Now playing
00:49
Fight erupts aboard Southwest flight
Shutterstock
Now playing
01:18
Scorpion stings passenger on United flight
Passenger chases plane on tarmac orig vstop dlewis_00000000.jpg
CC.OO. Ryanair & Lesma Handling
Passenger chases plane on tarmac orig vstop dlewis_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:50
Passenger chases plane on tarmac
Courtesy Spirit Airlines
Now playing
00:50
Woman gives birth midair on Spirit flight
The engine on a Southwest Airlines plane is inspected as it sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (Amanda Bourman via AP)
Amanda Bourman/AP
The engine on a Southwest Airlines plane is inspected as it sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (Amanda Bourman via AP)
Now playing
01:07
Nurse on plane: Made every effort to save woman
(180514) -- CHENGDU, May 14, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Flight 3U8633, operated by Sichuan Airlines, prepares to conduct emergency landing after a mechanical failure in Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 14, 2018. Part of the cockpit window broke as the Airbus A319 flew over Chengdu. The plane was en route from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It was forced to divert to an alternate airport in Chengdu. All passengers are safe, although the co-pilot sustained injuries to the face and waist, and another crew member was slightly hurt during the emergency landing. After the landing on Monday morning, the airline has arranged another flight to take the passengers to Lhasa. (Xinhua/Wan Bi) (ry) (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)
Xinhua/Sipa USA
(180514) -- CHENGDU, May 14, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Flight 3U8633, operated by Sichuan Airlines, prepares to conduct emergency landing after a mechanical failure in Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 14, 2018. Part of the cockpit window broke as the Airbus A319 flew over Chengdu. The plane was en route from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It was forced to divert to an alternate airport in Chengdu. All passengers are safe, although the co-pilot sustained injuries to the face and waist, and another crew member was slightly hurt during the emergency landing. After the landing on Monday morning, the airline has arranged another flight to take the passengers to Lhasa. (Xinhua/Wan Bi) (ry) (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)
Now playing
00:51
Co-pilot sucked halfway out of plane
A JetBlue flight from San Juan to Tampa was diverted when the outer layer of the plane's windshield shattered.
WFTS
A JetBlue flight from San Juan to Tampa was diverted when the outer layer of the plane's windshield shattered.
Now playing
00:42
JetBlue windshield shatters mid-flight
Air Canada
Now playing
01:15
Plane nearly landed on a crowded taxiway
KYW
Now playing
01:32
Southwest plane makes emergency landing
australia bali flight airasia seven network pkg_00013614.jpg
australia bali flight airasia seven network pkg_00013614.jpg
Now playing
01:27
Inside AirAsia flight as it dropped 20,000 feet
Marty Martinez/Storyful
Now playing
01:33
Watch passengers inside Southwest plane

Story highlights

Passengers describe scary moment

Air Canada flight makes unscheduled landing in Calgary after turbulence on flight from China

21 people, including three children, are hospitalized

(CNN) —  

A burst of turbulence on a Toronto-bound Air Canada flight from China brought a frightening, surreal scene: Blankets covering passengers flew away and a soda can landed on top of an overhead compartment and stayed there.

Passengers on Flight AC088, which was diverted to Calgary on Wednesday afternoon, described what it was like on board the Boeing 777-300ER. The turbulence occurred well into the flight from Shanghai.

Twenty-one passengers were hospitalized, officials said.

None of the injuries – possibly to the neck and back – was life-threatening, said Stuart Brideaux, public education officer for the Calgary Zone EMS. Three children were transported.

“It’s fortunate we don’t have greater injuries,” Brideaux told reporters.

Passenger Gord Murray told CNN newsgathering partner CBC News that “it could have been much worse.”

“It was a little scary … but all the crew were very professional. They handled themselves really well. Everyone stayed calm,” he said.

Murray, who flies a lot for work, said, “It was the most turbulence I’ve ever felt.” He related the story of the beverage can. “We dropped quite a bit.”

The traveler said the crew had warned passengers they were in for some turbulence. “They were good at communicating.” The initial plan, Murray said, was to land at Edmonton, also in Alberta.

The passengers did not know where the turbulence occurred and Air Canada did not provide details. Medical professionals who were on the flight helped the injured.

Passenger Linda He said a girl next to her was sleeping, apparently not wearing a lap belt. That passenger went flying into the air, He said.

Air Canada said eight passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries and 13 were hospitalized for observation. Some of those taken to hospitals were released later in the day.

An investigation was underway and teams were assisting passengers affected by the diverted flight, the airline said.

Yi Lee of Halifax said “all of a sudden it was really violent.” The lap belts sign was on, but some people did not have them on or they had not been tightened, he said.

The plane was carrying 332 passengers and 19 crew members.

Klaus Goersch, Air Canada’s chief operating officer, said: “Our focus today has been on those passengers who have been injured in this incident and those other passengers on the aircraft for whom this has been a very unsettling experience.”