The Terror of Turbulence

A violent jolt on board an Air Canada flight injured eight passengers and two crew members, forcing pilots to make an emergency landing in Calgary.

Air Canada Flight 190 from Victoria to Toronto was flying over the Canadian Rockies Thursday when the Airbus 319 jetliner with 88 passengers and crew on board was rocked violently, causing the plane to shake severely. Six passengers were injured so badly that they were taken off the plane on stretchers.

"One side of the plane just went up a little bit sideways and then it just sort of went back down and our friend was really hurt," said one passenger.

"I was tossed around, along the window, back and forth and it felt like the plane was going down," explained another passenger.

Authorities say the plane climbed to 36,000 feet, when it jolted wildly and plunged 5,000 feet before the pilots stabilized the plane.

Although most likely caused by turbulence, Canadian Transportation Safety Board officials told The Associated Press they have not yet officially determined whether it was turbulence, mechanical problems or human error.

Turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to airline passengers and flight crews and no plane, not even the president's Air Force One, is immune. There are nearly 100 turbulence-related injuries every year.

"Passengers talk about how they saw passengers flying through the air, how they saw dishes or objects flying through the cabin. And that's a very real threat, it does happen," said Todd Curtis, an aviation safety expert.

Turbulence is a routine part of flying though, and flight attendants are trained to help protect passengers. "There are procedures in place by the airlines where turbulence events, when they occur, are likely not to injure you, or kill you," said Curtis.

Even though jolts like Thursday's are rare, nervous fliers can visit to track bumpy skies ahead of their flight path.

Still worried? Many passengers also try music. It's one of the most popular tricks passengers employ to calm themselves down.