PERTH, Australia – A Qantas flight struck turbulence over Malaysia and suddenly lost altitude, leaving seven people with minor injuries, the airline said Monday.
The Airbus A330 with 219 passengers and crew aboard was flying from Hong Kong to the Australian west coast city of Perth overnight when it struck "severe turbulence" over Malaysian Borneo, Qantas said in a statement.
Six passengers and a crew member were treated for minor injuries on board as the airliner continued to Perth, Qantas corporate affairs manager David Epstein said.
The captain reported minor damage to two overhead panels in the cabin, and two oxygen masks were dislodged, he told Fairfax Radio.
An uninjured passenger, who identified himself only as John, said he heard a loud bang before the jet suddenly lost altitude.
"I was sitting at the exit door and I had this lady, (who) was waiting at the restroom and she flew up and hit the ceiling and came crashing down to the floor," John told Fairfax Radio.
"It was just a matter of a few seconds, but it (the turbulence) was really sudden and things went flying," he added.
Australian government safety officials were investigating the incident.
Qantas said there is not reason to link the incident to other recent in-flight incidents involving A330 aircraft.
A computer malfunction on a Qantas A330 flying from Singapore to Perth on Oct. 7 last year caused the jet to nose-dive twice, leaving 12 passengers and crew seriously injured.
The Australian airline underwent a safety review last year after a series of problems, including an oxygen tank explosion on a Boeing 747-400 that ripped a hole in the jet's fuselage last July, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the Philippines. No one was injured.