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Turbulence injures at least 20 on planes landing in Boston

Oct 3, 2011, 8:47 a.m.

By Zach Howard

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - At least 20 people were injured when two commercial flights encountered severe turbulence before landing at Boston's Logan International Airport late Sunday, airport and airline officials said on Monday.

Nine people on JetBlue Flight 852 traveling to Boston from San Juan, Puerto Rico reported being hurt, citing injuries to their backs and necks, said Massport spokesman Phil Orlandella.

At least one passenger also was burned when hot coffee spilled in the incident, he said.

The JetBlue Airbus A-319 carrying 130 passengers and five crew members landed at 9:57 p.m. and was met by Massport Fire Rescue and Boston emergency medical staff, who offered assistance to the injured, Orlandella said.

The Boston-bound flight was just off the coast of Virginia when it experienced several seconds of severe turbulence, JetBlue confirmed in a statement.

"The crew reported, due to turbulence, there were some injuries on the plane - it turned out to be nine people," Orlandella said. "All refused transportation to hospitals and will be going to doctors on their own."

About 90 minutes later, severe turbulence forced Lufthansa Flight 429 from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Munich, Germany, to divert to Boston with at least 11 people aboard reported injured, said Massport's Orlandella.

The Airbus A340-600 aircraft, which was transporting 244 passengers and 18 crew members, landed at 11:37 p.m., confirmed Lufthansa spokeswoman Christina Semmel.

"Because of turbulence, the flight did land in Boston. The flight crew decided to do that as a precautionary measure," Semmel said.

Semmel said the airline was trying to determine how many people aboard reported injuries, noting that two were sent to hospitals from the airport. Three of the injured opted to continue flying to Munich when the plane departed from Logan at 1:00 a.m.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst)

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