- A Sunwing 737 hit severe turbulence over Montana early Sunday
Two Sunwing flight attendants were slightly injured and 181 passengers significantly inconvenienced when the Boeing 737 hit “extreme turbulence” east of the Rockies and made an emergency landing in Helena, Montana.
The flight was on its way from Edmonton to Puerto Vallarta with the passengers and six crew when it it the rough air. The flight crew headed for Helena after the two flight attendants suffered minor cuts and the aircraft landed about 7:30 a.m.
Helena, which is the capital of Montana, does not normally get international arrivals and the passengers had to sit on the plane for five hours before U.S. Customs officials could be found in Great Falls, 90 minutes away, to allow them into the small terminal, where they were kept in a cordoned off area.
The turbulence was bad enough that Sunwing needs to inspect the aircraft before it carries passengers so the airline had to round up another aircraft. It didn’t get to Helena until early evening and it was 6:25 p.m. before the vacationers were on their way.
The flight attendants were both cleared to continue the flight. The turbulence hit during Sunwing’s champagne service, which ended up on, rather than in, the passengers.