The terrifying incident took place as the Boeing 777-300 was approaching Manila on its flight from Doha. The pilot requested priority landing after hitting the turbulence, and the plane was met by paramedics.
Three children and two flight attendants were among those who received treatment for minor incidents such as abrasions. Philippines news agency InterAksyon reported that many of those hurt had not been wearing seatbelts. Three people were sent to hospital for further evaluation before being discharged.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the aircraft had been hit by clean air turbulence.
“Clean air turbulence is defined as turbulence which is not associated with cloud and therefore cannot be detected visually or by conventional weather radar,” it said in a statement. “It can strike even in the absence of clouds and pilots have no time to warn passengers and crew to get strapped into their seats.
“This is the reason why pilots forewarned passengers to always fasten their seatbelts even when the aircraft is on a high altitude flight.”
Last week two flight attendants and 10 passengers required treatment after an EgyptAir flight carrying 268 passengers ran into turbulence while travelling from New York to Cairo.