12 Hospitalized After Technical Problem on Auckland-Bound Flight 

Wellington — Twelve passengers were hospitalized Monday after a LATAM flight from Sydney to Auckland experienced a technical problem that caused a sudden jolt, the airline and first responders told AFP Monday.   

At least one person was said to be in a serious condition after flight LA800 experienced difficulties over the Tasman Sea.   

Passengers told local media that the plane quickly lost altitude, flinging those without their seatbelts on toward the ceiling.   

A passenger told radio network RNZ that “people flew through the air because they weren’t wearing their seatbelts,”  

“Some people got pretty injured. People were really scared as well” the man said, his voice shaking.   

A spokesperson for the Chile-based airline said “a technical event during the flight” had “caused a strong movement.”  

“The plane landed at Auckland Airport as scheduled”, they added.   

It was not immediately clear what caused the incident.   

Gerard Campbell of the St John New Zealand ambulance service said medics were made aware of the problem as the plane descended into New Zealand’s largest city.   

A phalanx of more than a dozen ambulances and other medical vehicles rushed to the scene to treat the wounded.   

“Our ambulance crews assessed and treated approximately 50 patients, with one patient in a serious condition and the remainder in a moderate to minor condition”, said Campbell.   

“Twelve patients were transported to hospital” he said, after earlier putting the number at 13.   

LATAM said the plane involved was a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.   

US plane-maker Boeing has suffered a series of safety issues in recent years, including fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes on 737 MAX planes.   

Boeing is still reeling from a near-catastrophic incident in January, when a fuselage panel on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airlines jet blew off mid-flight.   

The airline said LATAM “deeply regrets any inconvenience and discomfort this situation may have caused.” 

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