Passengers on an Allegiant Airlines flight to Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon had hopefully just enjoyed a relaxing vacation in the Dominican Republic, because the trip home from Punta Cana International Airport proved, well, stressful. Three passengers and four flight attendants had to be hospitalized after "severe turbulence," which caused the plane to divert to Florida, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. An official tells NBC Miami that people suffered non-life-threatening bruises, lacerations, facial fractures, and a head injury. "I thought, 'the plane's going down, and I'm going to die,'" a passenger tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Another calls it "unreal."
Allegiant officials say the turbulence began when the plane—carrying 137 passengers and six crew members—was flying at about 36,000 feet. There was "a little jolt and then all of a sudden a big jolt and I looked over at my mom and she was like flying up in the air," a passenger tells WTAE, noting her mom wasn't wearing a seat belt. Passenger Amanda Kuhn tells WPLG she saw a flight attendant's face "smash off of the cabinets in the back of the plane," leaving the attendant "covered in blood." In speaking to WTAE, Kuhn says she was left with "people's blood on my feet." Flight 7001 landed in Fort Lauderdale at 2:43pm EST, just under an hour after the turbulence occurred; uninjured passengers departed on a different plane about six hours later.