(SKY NEWS) — Five people have been injured after a passenger plane suffered severe turbulence in mid-air – flipping a drinks cart on its side.
The Delta flight from Seattle to Orange County in California “nosedived twice” – forcing the pilot to make an urgent diversion to Reno-Tahoe airport in Nevada.
Photos of the aftermath showed food and drink splattered on the floor and ceiling, with passengers’ possessions strewn across the cabin.
It comes as the “Pineapple Express” weather system – a river of warm air loaded with moisture – nears California, bringing a mix of heavy rain, snow and strong winds.
Joe Justice, one of the passengers on board, said the cabin crew were “amazing in this rough situation”.
Another passenger, Barbara Belcher, described it as “chaotic and scary” but said people “showed up as their best selves”.
Two passengers and one flight attendant were taken to hospital because of their minor injuries.
Delta flight 5763 was being operated by Compass Airlines and had about 60 people on board.
Upon landing at Reno-Tahoe, travellers were given pizza and drinks while they waited for another flight.
Sky News has contacted Delta for a statement.
Forecasters in California are warning commuters to expect 2.5cm (1in) of rain every hour for three hours on Thursday morning – with downpours continuing throughout the day.
David Roth, from the National Weather Service, said: “It will be the most dangerous in areas where there were wildfires.
“The ground is already saturated with water and there’s not much vegetation left to hold the soil.”
Residents of some of the areas hardest hit by the wildfires have been ordered to evacuate, amid fears that hillsides scorched in 2018 could turn into rivers of mud and debris – carrying away cars and homes.