The Boeing 777 was carrying 255 passengers and 10 crew members when it encountered "moderate to severe" turbulence somewhere over Kansas. Twenty-six passengers and four crew were injured. The plane was diverted to Denver International Airport, where medical crews were standing by to take the injured to hospital. At least 19 of the injured were released Wednesday morning, including a 12-year-old child. Eleven people reportedly had back and neck injuries, and one person was critically injured.
Some of the uninjured passengers were placed on a special flight to Los Angeles that arrived without incident.
The United flight was traveling at an altitude of roughly 34,000 feet over an undisclosed part of Kansas when the pilot radioed air traffic control to report "moderate to severe turbulence." There was a series of strong thunderstorms stretching from the middle of Missouri to the middle of Kansas, which had delayed some flights. Chad Gimmestad, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, told MSNBC.com that airliners generally try to fly around such storms because forecasters can't predict where the turbulence will occur.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.