A Tahiti-bound jetliner with 120 aboard returned to Los Angeles International Airport early this morning after hitting turbulence that rocked the plane and caused minor injuries to three flight attendants and one passenger, officials said.
Continental Airlines Flight 11, a DC-10 headed for Papeete, was hit by turbulence at about 3:15 a.m., 90 minutes after it took off. The plane, which was to continue on to Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, was cruising at 35,000 feet with 109 passengers and 11 crew members, airline spokesman David Messing said.
The attendants and a woman passenger suffered sprained ankles and stubbed toes, Messing said. None of the injuries required hospitalization, but because the attendants were incapacitated, the plane's captain returned to Los Angeles, he said.
Messing said Continental put the passengers up at an airport-area hotel while seats on other flights were arranged.
Among the passengers was a contingent of reporters and photographers being flown to Tahiti to watch the taping of a Bob Hope television special, a spokesman for Hope said. The comedian was not aboard.