NEW YORK: Severe turbulence forced a Beijing-bound United Airlines Boeing 777 with 189 passengers on board back to Newark on Thursday after five cabin crew sustained injuries, officials said.
Flight 89 departed from the New Jersey airport at 12:40 pm (1740 GMT), according to the airline's website, and had been scheduled to arrive at Beijing Capital International airport at 3pm Friday.
But Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico told AFP that UA89 ran into turbulence 45 minutes into the scheduled 14-hour flight.
"There are five flight attendants with minor injuries - bumps and bruises - although one did complain of severe back pain," he told AFP.
The plane returned to Newark and the afflicted flight attendants taken to local hospitals, he said.
The airline confirmed that the jet landed safely in Newark with 189 passengers and 16 crew members on board.
"United flight 89 from Newark to Beijing returned to Newark today after encountering turbulence while in flight," company spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm told AFP in an email.
Passengers would be accommodated on a flight Friday morning and have been offered hotels in Newark for the evening, she said.
United officials were "reviewing" the event, Dohm added.
According to United's website flight 89 departed at 12:40 pm (1740 GMT) and arrived back at Newark at 3:52 pm. -AFP