Clearwater, Florida - Four people -- three passengers and a flight attendant -- were injured when an Allegiant Air flight experienced turbulence just south of Jacksonville on Monday.
Damien Cayro was on the jet from Fort Lauderdale to Asheville, N.C., when Flight 916 was forced to make an emergency landing at St. Pete-Clearwater Airport. "The plane was kind of bumpy to say the least. We at one point fell a good 7 to 10 seconds. It was kind of terrifying," Cayro said.
Maria Velazquez was also on board. "Everything just kind of went flying around - magazines that are on the back of your seats. They were everywhere and people jumped from the seats," she said.
Jeff Adler says he thought the worse, " I'm thinking this is going to be a plane crash. It felt like a bad roller coaster ride when you see those people flying up and down in a movie. That's basically what happened," he said.
Emergency vehicles helped the injured hurt by the turbulence that was caused by rough weather, according to the airline. Passengers say the flight attendant was doing the drink service when the plane made a sudden and unexpected free fall.
"I mean she took a beating. She hit the ceiling. She had this gash on her side. She looked a little dazed," Adler said.
An Allegiant flight to Asheville, N.C., resumes after stopping at St. Pete after hitting turbulence.
Flightaware shows the plane abruptly changing course over Palm Coast and then a rapid descent of more than 11,000 feet in just minutes.
Allegiant Air says the flight attendant came down hard on top of a passenger and another person was injured by the drink cart. One passenger and the flight attendant had to be rushed to the hospital. An airline spokeswoman says the other two injured passengers left the airport on their own.
"It was just like getting in a car crash and just everything flew up for like two seconds and everyone sat down and was like what just happened?" said Nicholas Harrington.
Harrington says his brother was among those not wearing his seat belt when it happened and wound up hurt. "He hit his head on the roof of the airplane. He must have pulled some neck muscles or something because he's not really able to maneuver his head around," Harrington said.
Allegiant Air says of the 147 passengers who made the trip on Monday 140 chose to fly out on Tuesday with the airline to finish their trip. The spokesperson says it's normal for some passengers to seek other transportation if they can't wait for the next flight. The flight to Asheville left St. Pete-Clearwater Airport at 10:30 a.m and arrived safely at noon Tuesday.
Some of the passengers said they were a little nervous. "I just want to get to Asheville as soon as possible. Turbulence and Allegiant just don't seem to go well together," Cayron said.
The flight attendant declined a chance to be interviewed. Allegiant said the attendant is resting and recovering. They say she didn't suffer a concussion or broken bones. There was no information on the passenger who was taken to the hospital.
The airline says all of the passengers involved were provided overnight accommodations at the Holiday Inn and were given a $100 travel voucher. They were also given the option of taking a different flight back to Fort Lauderdale or a refund.