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This file photo from May 24, 2014, shows a South African Airways Airbus A340 flying over Pretoria, South Africa. / Themba Hadebe, AP

Twenty people were injured after "severe turbulence" jolted a South African Airways flight headed from Johannesburg to Hong Kong on Wednesday. The turbulence was so serve that video footage showed at least one hole in the jet's ceiling panels that apparently was caused by a man's head after he went flying into the air.

The Airbus A340-600 operating South African Flight SA286 encountered clear air turbulence over Kuala Lumpur around 8:30 a.m. local time before landing safely in Hong Kong at 12:30 p.m. local time. Medical staff were waiting at the Hong Kong airport to tend to passengers on SA286 upon arrival, according to The Associated Press.

"The pilot radioed our control tower saying it was continuing its journey to Hong Kong rather than diverting into another city and requested medical assistance upon landing," a Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman says to the South China Morning Post.

Of the injured, 17 were passengers and three were crew. AP says TV footage from Hong Kong "showed rescue workers wheeling one injured passenger on a stretcher. ? The Hong Kong fire department said two people were critically injured. The victims were taken to three hospitals."

"I was forcefully flung out of my seat, onto the aisle, two rows in front of me," Asanda Ntshiqa, a SA286 passenger says to NBC News. "There was screaming and crying, we weren't too sure what had just happened. We never expected to get to a point where we thought we'd lose our lives."

"It was like the end of the world," David Mkumbuje -- another passenger on the flight -- says to the Morning Post.

Two of the injured remained hospitalized in Hong Kong on Wednesday night, according to the Morning Post.

South African Airways said 165 passengers were on SA286, an overnight flight departed Johannesburg on Tuesday.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Severe turbulence sends fliers across cabin, injuring 20

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