Four people have been hospitalised after a plane plummeted during severe turbulence in Central America.
The Airbus A319 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Panama City.
On landing, 108 passengers and five crew members were checked out by airport health authorities.
Subsequently, three crew members and one passenger were admitted to hospital for a check-up.
The Colombian flag carrier said in a statement that there was an “abrupt movement of the aircraft” during the flight.
“On arrival some passengers and crew were referred to airport health authorities,” it said.
Así quedo el avión de Avianca luego de vivir una emergencia en el vuelo AV693 San José – Bogotá. Cayó en picada por unos segundos. pic.twitter.com/aPgiGVjd2S— Colombianos en Costa Rica (@Colombiaencr)January 23, 2020
“As a result of that initial review, a passenger and three crew members are being transferred to the hospital for a detailed medical evaluation.”
Avianca added that the majority of passengers flew on to Bogota on the next flight.
Images shared on social media of the turbulence show bags of rubbish strewn over the galley and into the aisle.
Turbulence is caused by eddies of “rough air” – a bit like waves becoming choppy at sea.
There are three main reasons they occur: thermal (warm air rises through cooler air); mechanical (a mountain or manmade structure disrupts air flow); and shear (on the border of two pockets of air moving in different directions).
Although turbulence can feel scary, modern aircraft are designed to withstand a huge amount of turbulence.