Dozens injured after Air Europa flight hit by 'severe' turbulence

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing after dozens of passengers were hurt during "severe" turbulence.

A total of 30 people were taken to hospital following the incident on board the Air Europa flight from Madrid.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft had been due to land in Montevideo, Uruguay, but was instead forced to touch down in Natal airport in northeastern Brazil at around 2.30am local time on Monday.

Photographs and video clips posted online, purporting to be of the aftermath, showed several passengers being treated for injuries - including a woman wearing a neck brace. Small splatters of blood could also be seen.

Several seats and the ceiling of the aircraft were also badly damaged, while there were unverified claims that a man got stuck after being thrown upwards into an overhead compartment.

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The airline said in a statement: "Our flight bound for Montevideo was diverted to Natal due to strong turbulence.

"The plane landed normally and those injured of varying severity are already being treated."

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Health officials in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte said in a statement that 30 passengers had been taken to hospitals in Natal with "minor abrasions or orthopaedic traumas".

Air Europa said a second plane would be sent from Madrid later on Monday to pick up the passengers and continue the trip to Uruguay.

It comes only weeks after a 73-year-old British man died following severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight from London to the city-state in South East Asia.

Some scientists have suggested plane turbulence could get worse as a result of climate change.