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Turbulence On Miami-Bound Jet Tosses Passengers, Injures Crew

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Six crew members aboard an American Airlines jet bound from Brazil to Miami International Airport were hurt Sunday night, and a planeload of passengers was shaken up, by what those aboard called major turbulence.

Some of the crew members of flight 980, from Recife, Brazil to Miami were taken to the hospital when the jet arrived in Miami after 6 p.m. Sunday, and others were treated at the airport.

Its an incident that sent many passengers into a panic. Some said crying and screaming could be heard throughout the cabin. Many thought they were going to die.

"it was a terrible experience," Charistianne Menezes, a passenger, told CBS4's Tiffani Helberg. "Of course I was sure that I was going to die."

Passengers said the turbulence hit about 2 hours into the flight to Miami.

"Seems like an air pocket," recalled Gillas Correa, one of the 143 passengers aboard the flight. "Everything was fine and the next minute the plane just fell a huge drop.  I was watching the movie and heads just dropped out…Everybody was in a seatbelt or not everybody just moved up on their seats and some of them just smashed against the ceiling,"

"It was a lot of people screaming there was a lot of people crying," he said. There was a woman who was sitting a couple rows behind us; she got thrown up in the air and landed in the hallway."

Apparently it was crew members who took the brunt of the injuries, as they were moving about the cabin and apparently were caught by surprise when the turbulence hit.

Correa said one of the worst injured was female flight attendant working near the food cart. He said the cart smashed a giant hole in the ceiling of the plane.

"She hit the ceiling and when she came down the cart hit her," he said. "The lucky thing is that we had a medical room doctor some ER emergency room doctor."

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