JetBlue Passenger Recounts Emergency Landing In Rapid City

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Turbulence forced a JetBlue plane to make an emergency landing in western KELOLAND Thursday evening.

The Rapid City Fire Department says nearly 30 people were taken to the hospital and later released.

When Jason Layne and his fiance Pamela boarded a plane in Boston, they expected smooth sailing to Sacramento.

“It was supposed to be an uneventful trip, but it turned out to be one of the most eventful we’ve had in our lives,” Jason Layne said.

Instead, passengers and crew members were sent on a turbulent ride through the sky.

“We just kind of hit a wall of wind and dropped 100 feet. Anyone who wasn’t buckled in just went flying,” Layne said.

“I was buckled in but the lady next to me was starting to fly and the guys behind us hit the overhead apartment and it cracked, you can see where it cracked,” Dee Lawton said.

The incident prompted an emergency landing at the Rapid City Regional Airport. As the plane descended, help emerged.

“The first thing that struck me was how beautiful South Dakota is. Then you see the runway and then all of a sudden, coming around a chain link fence you see are two ambulances and fire trucks just kind of almost landing with us,” Layne said.

Layne says first responders climbed on board and went to work right away, caring for crew members and passengers.

Layne calls the overall response impressive from a police officer handing out coloring books to kids, to an airport restaurant re-opening its doors to the passengers.

“They came back into work and served us food. That’s not something you see too often in the 21st century, at least where I’m from,” Layne said.

The incident, while unfortunate, left Layne wanting to come back to the Rushmore State to experience what else it has to offer.

Layne and his fiancee were not injured in the incident.

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