PHILADELPHIA >> A Florida-bound plane returned to Philadelphia after encountering severe turbulence that injured six people, authorities said.
The turbulence encountered Sunday by the Orlando-bound US Airways flight lasted only a few seconds, but four passengers and two flight attendants reported injuries, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The pilot then turned the plane back toward Philadelphia and asked passengers whether any medical professionals were aboard, prompting two to volunteer, according to the newspaper.
The airline said five people were taken to hospitals and their conditions were not known, but none of the injuries appeared life-threatening.
Passenger Mark Pensiero, 58, of Moorestown, New Jersey, told the newspaper that he felt his seat drop and his body press up against the seat belt.
"Somebody described it as being on the ‘ride of doom,’ where the floor drops out and you drop," Pensiero said. "There were a lot of people on that flight who thought, ‘Oh, that’s it.’ "
US Airways spokesman Bill McGlashen said the seatbelt sign was still on at the time of the turbulence, which occurred when the plane was at 17,000 feet.
Airport spokeswoman Stacy Jackson said another plane took off at 8 p.m. Sunday to take the passengers to Orlando.