Passenger, flight attendant suffer injuries during turbulence on Southwest flight

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TAMPA, Fla. — A passenger and flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Central Florida were injured Wednesday after the aircraft experienced severe turbulence and had to be diverted to Tampa.

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According to a spokesperson for the airline, Southwest Flight 4237, which originated in New Orleans and was traveling to Orlando, had to be diverted due to turbulence as high winds whipped through the Florida peninsula and over the Gulf of Mexico, WDSU-TV reported.

The aircraft’s pilot declared an emergency and asked for permission to land at Tampa International Airport, approximately 84 miles west of Orlando International Airport, according to WFTS-TV. A declaration of emergency is a requirement for flights to divert the plane from its original path, the television station reported.

When the plane landed, two people were taken to an area hospital, officials said. Airline officials did not elaborate on the conditions of the two people who were hurt.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told CNN the two people taken to the hospital were a passenger and a flight attendant.

“Our crew safely diverted Southwest Flight 4273 to Tampa Bay International Airport early this morning from a planned journey between New Orleans and Orlando following turbulence in flight,” Southwest said in a statement provided to WSDU and WFTS. “The captain declared an emergency, a requirement to deviate from a filed flight plan, and also requested that paramedics be available when the aircraft arrived to assess any potential injury.

“Two people were transported to a Tampa Bay area medical facility. Our mechanics reviewed the aircraft and we worked with customers whose travel was impacted by an arrival in Orlando approximately four-and-a-half hours behind schedule. With our apologies for their delayed journey, there is no priority higher than the safest operation of every flight.”

According to the flight tracking website FlightAware.com, Flight 4273 took off from New Orleans at 6:44 a.m. CDT on Wednesday and landed safely in Tampa at 8:56 a..m. EDT, according to WDSU. The plane left Tampa after a delay and landed in Orlando at 2:04 p.m. EDT, the television station reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, a spokesperson told CNN.

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