TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It was described as chaos in the air Wednesday as an American Airlines flight from Tampa to Nashville was diverted after experiencing severe turbulence.
The plane made an emergency landing in Birmingham, Alabama. Eight people on board suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
Temple Terrace native Travis Hamilton was on his way to Nashville to participate in a charity golf tournament. He said that he was in the airplane bathroom when, about an hour into the flight, it felt like he was on a roller coaster.
“Before I could finish washing my hands, I was on the roof of the bathroom,” Hamilton said. “Up and down. 10 seconds.”
Hamilton said when it stopped, all he could see was blood.
“I looked in the mirror and it was kind of running down my face,” Hamilton said.
He had to kick his way out the bathroom. He described what he saw next as chaos in the cabin.
“Oxygen masks were down,” Hamilton said. “Babies were screaming. Everybody’s kind of like, what just happened?”
Hamilton then realized, he wasn’t the only one who was hurt.
“The one stewardess, man, she was messed up,” Hamilton said. “There’s blood just all over her face and the other one couldn’t hardly turn her head or neck or anything.”
A spokeswoman with American Airlines sent 8 On Your Side a statement:
American Eagle flight 3609 with service from Tampa, Florida (TPA) to Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) diverted to Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) after encountering unexpected turbulence. The Embraer E175 landed without incident at 3:17 p.m. CT and safely taxied to the gate. Two flight attendants and six passengers were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
When the plane landed, Hamilton got checked out by fire rescue. He had a small cut on his head and kept it moving. Hamilton said that all he got in return for his rough ride was a $12 meal voucher and AAdvantage miles, which wasn’t good enough.
While he ended up getting to his destination in Nashville, Hamilton believes the airline should be punished.
“The fact they gave less than a minute warning to put on our seat belt, they need to be held accountable for it,” Hamilton said.