(CNN) – A “nightmare” transatlantic flight experienced such violent turbulence that it left at least 12 people injured with passengers telling how the plane’s ceiling was ripped off and thrown to the ground.
Aerolíneas Argentinas flight R1133, an Airbus A330-200 twin-jet engine aircraft, took off from Madrid at around 20:00 on October 18th and encountered problems mid-flight en route to Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires.
According to accounts posted on Twitter, passengers were caught unawares as the plane pitched up and down, sending people and objects crashing into the interior of the plane.
Passengers said the damage inside the plane was caused by the heads hitting the ceiling.
“Even the flight attendants were on the floor.”
He described people’s heads hitting the surfaces of the plane. “The last seven hours of the flight were a nightmare,” he added.
An image posted on Twitter shows passengers holding their heads in the wake of the emergency, with debris on the cabin floor. Another showed what appeared to be a jumble of oxygen mask tubes hanging from the ceiling.
A woman with apparent injuries to her nose caused by the incident.
In one photo, a woman can be seen with bandages around what appeared to be wounds on her nose.
In a statement, Aerolineas Argentinas said three people had to be placed under “close observation” after the plane landed in Buenos Aires, while nine others were treated for “minor injuries”.
“According to the information provided by the crew, the seat belt lights were on and the appropriate announcement was made,” the statement said. “The passengers who were injured more, and those who had to move, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the incident.”
The airline said the “incident” occurred over the Atlantic Ocean as the A330 carrying 271 passengers and 13 crew was approaching South America. “An assessment of the aircraft did not show significant damage to its structure,” he added.