Five Injured as 'Severe Turbulence' Forces Delta Flight to Make Emergency Landing

Severe turbulence struck a U.S. internal flight on Wednesday, leaving five people injured and forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.

The Compass Airlines flight (No. 5763) had departed from Santa Ana in Orange County, California, and was bound for Seattle, Washington, with 59 passengers and 4 crew onboard when the plane encountered turbulence in the afternoon, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

Compass is a regional airline mostly covering the western portion of the United States which operates on behalf of Delta Air Lines—as was the case for flight 5763—and American Airlines.

One passenger who was on the flight, Joe Justice, described the turbulence as "insane" in a series of Twitter posts, noting that the plane "did a nose dive, twice."

"Crazy turbulence and injuries, but the crew handled it perfectly, even the emergency landing," he wrote. His posts included several photos and a video which revealed the extent of the mess created by the turbulence in the aircraft cabin.

Crazy turbulence and injuries, but the @delta crew handled it perfectly, even the emergency landing.

— I switched my account to @JoeJustice (@JoeJustice0) February 13, 2019

After the incident, the flight diverted to Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada, where the pilot made a safe emergency landing at around 4:00 p.m. PT, according to the airline.

"The aircraft landed safely and customers exited normally through the main cabin door," a spokesperson for the airline, Cartiay McCoy, told Newsweek. "Delta is making resources available to take care of and support our customers. [Passengers] were accommodated on an alternate flight to Seattle that arrived at 9:31 p.m. local time. Delta will refund customers."

"We can confirm that two customers and one flight attendant were transported to the hospital for evaluation, but I can't speak to the extent of the injuries at this time," McCoy said.

In a statement provided to The Washington Post, Brian Kulpin, a spokesperson for Reno airport, said: "There were people who were shaken up, understandably."

The turbulence which the flight experienced may have been linked to a winter storm which has been affecting the Sierra Nevada region. The National Weather Service in Reno warned aviators to expect "strong turbulence over the Sierra," over the course of the next few days.

"Winds in western Nevada on Thursday could cause extensive delays to air traffic and periods of downright dangerous flying conditions with moderate-extreme turbulence," a Weather Service report warned.

In expectation of more turbulence problems in the coming days, a spokesperson for the airline said: "We apologize for this experience as we get customers to Seattle," the Journal reported.

This article was updated to include a statement from the airline.