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Turbulence injures several crew, passengers aboard United flight

BILLINGS, Mont. - Severe turbulence during a United Airlines flight from Denver to Billings, Mont., sent five people to hospitals in Montana on Monday, an airline official said.

Three crew members and two passengers were injured, United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger told the Denver Post. The captain declared a medical emergency as the Boeing 737 approached Billings, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told the Billings Gazette.

Flight 1676 left Denver International Airport around noon and landed without incident just before 1:30 p.m. at Billings Logan International Airport, Gregor and the airline said.

One flight attendant remained in hospital late Monday, Punzenberger said. He says 114 passengers and five crew members were aboard.

Passenger Joe Frank, 20, told the Post in an email that the plane dropped violently and he heard a loud bang. He said a baby was propelled out of a parent's arms and landed in a seat nearby, but the infant didn't appear to be hurt.

"I didn't have my seat belt on, so I hit my head pretty hard but what hurts is my lower back and hips," he told the newspaper. He said he was heading from a visit to Texas back home to Billings.

Emergency crews and the Billings airport fire department responded.

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