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Colorado passenger on United flight says plane 'started plunging'

9:28 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Passengers say what started as a peaceful flight from Denver to Billings today ended in chaos - when their jet hit severe turbulence.

United flight 1676 left DIA at noon - headed for Billings.

Kerri Mullins from Arvada took a photo of a clear blue sky just minutes before the scariest 25 seconds of her life.

"I thought 'Wow! Yeah, this is it,'" Mullins said. "It's the most helpless feeling ever - to just be sitting there and not have any control over anything."

"The plane turned very sharply to the right and then started plunging," Mullins said. "Everything flew out of everybody's hands. It was quite surreal."

Mullins said some travelers weren't wearing seat belts.

"People that did not have their seat belts on had flown out of their seats and hit the ceiling," Mullins said.

She said after the plane stabilized, passengers began handing items back to each other that flew around the cabin - like phones and wallets.

A United Airlines spokesperson said three flight attendants and two passengers went to the hospital.

The plane ultimately landed in Billings. According to Mullins, the landing wasn't smooth either.

"We did hit a little bit of turbulence right before we landed, so it was very unnerving after we had just been through all of this," Mullins said.

She said the pilot didn't make an announcement about the incident.

"In fact, I thought it was very interesting that the pilot never came on and said anything about what had happened," Mullins said. "There was nothing."

Mullins is scheduled to return to Colorado on Friday. But the experience was so frightening that she is considering driving back.

"They say you have more chance of getting in an accident in a car than you do in an airplane. But emotionally, I think I'd feel better if I was in control of my own vehicle," she said.

Late Sunday night a United Airlines spokesperson said two passengers and two flight attendants were released from the hospital. One flight attendant had not been released.

There were 114 passengers and five crew members aboard the Boeing 737-700 aircraft.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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