ROME - An airliner flying from Havana to Milan abruptly plunged some 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) when it hit unusually strong turbulence over the Atlantic on Monday, terrifying passengers and leaving some 30 people aboard with bruises and scrapes, airline officials said.
The flight continued to Milan's Malpensa airport after the plane's captain determined that it suffered no structural damage and two passengers who are physicians found no serious injuries, Giulio Buzzi, head of the pilots division at Neos Air, told Sky TG24 TV.
The ANSA news agency quoted bruised passenger Edoardo De Lucchi as saying meals were being served when suddenly there was "10 seconds of terror." He recounted how plates went flying and some passengers not wearing seatbelts bounced about.
Buzzi had said that the drop measured some 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) in a cloudless sky. But Milan daily's Corriere della Sera's website, quoting Neos official Davide Martini, later reported that the plane first bounced up some 500 metres (1,650 feet), then dropped some 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) to some 500 metres (1,650 feet) below the original altitude.