Chaotic scenes at Lajes airbase as “horrific turbulence” forces Qatar Airways to make emergency landing in Azores

Chaotic scenes played out at Lajes airbase after a Qatar Airways passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing in this morning’s bad weather over the Azores.

The story was covered by a journalist travelling on the plane, who described how it suddenly lost altitude, sending passengers “flying into the air, hitting the ceiling and landing in the aisles”.

“A three year old Lebanese boy flew out of his seat, and landed across the aisle into the lap of an Indian man who held him”, wrote Al Jazeera journalist Azad Essa, who described the turbulence as “horrific”.

SIC television news reported that “at least 10 people” needed medical assistance.

But the worst of the situation appears to have been the way people were treated on the ground.

“We are told Americans can leave to hotel”, Essad tweeted. “Rest need visas. Almost causes a mini-riot”.

“Very angry scenes here” he continues. “Passengers upset that Qatar Airways staff abandoned them”.

The airline then joined the tweets, saying it was “securing visas” for all concerned – but Essad was clearly not impressed, saying people had been left high and dry. There was “no food, no information” and “no compassion” for the elderly or children.

With Terceira island also described as not on his bucket list, Essad was taking no prisoners: Qatar Airways’ response to the situation was “pretty shocking”, he told his followers.

DN quoted Azores’ Civil protection source André Avelar as “not knowing” anything about Essad’s angry tweets.

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PHOTO: One of Essad’s photos showing passengers being treated by firefighters on the ground at Lajes