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Passenger describes ‘chaos’ as turbulence hits flight

A passenger who was on the flight from Doha to Dublin yesterday, which experienced turbulence resulting in eight passengers being hospitalised, has said she believes many injuries were prevented because passengers had kept their seatbelts on.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Phil Prendergast explained that the recent incident involving a Singapore Airlines flight – in which one person died and dozens others were injured following turbulence – was “very much in everybody’s mind”.

Ms Prendergast explained that she was travelling back from Australia with her aunt and uncle, where the Singapore Airlines incident had been a big story the previous week.

Qatar Airways flight QR017 from Doha landed at Dublin Airport shortly before 1pm yesterday, and had “experienced turbulence while airborne over Turkey”, around two hours into the flight.

Emergency services, including ambulances, were seen on the ground around the plane after it landed.

Ms Prendergast said it was “chaos” when the plane “just dropped” and “everything went up.”

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“Everyone was screaming,” she said.

She explained that cabin crew had just begun serving food when the incident occurred.

“Everything went up. The air hostesses just went up into the air and hit the roof and back down again. It was so scary to see how fast it all happened. Even those trolleys that are really heavy can just be lifted up and back down.”

“I really had to coax my aunt and uncle to travel with me to Australia to visit my brother,” she said.

“But I don’t think my aunt will ever go on a plane again,” she added.

Ms Prendergast said all the passengers were grateful that the flight was able to continue onto Dublin.

Despite many people feeling very sick, everyone was scared to move, she said.

“It would have been a good half hour before anyone even got up to go to the bathroom.”

Ms Prendergast praised the staff and how they picked themselves up, despite being injured, and continued looking after the passengers.

In a statement following the incident, Qatar Airways said that “a small number of passengers and crew sustained minor injuries in flight and are now receiving medical attention”, adding: “The matter is now subject to an internal investigation.”

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