A Sunwing Airlines flight enroute to Mexico from Edmonton made an emergency landing in Montana on Sunday morning after hitting severe turbulence that injured a flight attendant.
Flight 559 was early on in the flight when it encountered what was described as about 45 seconds of moderate turbulence followed by about 45 seconds of severe turbulence, said Janine Chapman, a spokeswoman for the Toronto-based airline.
The passengers were wearing their seatbelts at the time but two flight attendants were walking in the cabin when the turbulence occurred, Chapman said.
"The male flight attendant went up in the air and landed and got a small head lesion and the female flight attendant did fall to the ground as well."
Neither flight attendant needed hospitalization.
The flight landed in Helena as it is customary to do a maintenance check when an aircraft encounters heavy turbulence, Chapman said.
The passengers had to spend several hours in the aircraft until U.S. customs officers could be brought to Helena to clear the passengers so they could enter the airport, she said.
"I'm told they (the passengers) were in reasonably good spirits and happy to be on the ground."
The passengers were mostly families heading to Mexico for a vacation, she said.
Sunwing brought another plane from Toronto and the passengers were expected to leave later Sunday for Puerto Vallarta.
Such severe turbulence is extremely rare, Chapman said.