2 injured after Orlando-bound Southwest flight makes emergency landing in Tampa

Two people were injured after an Orlando-bound Southwest flight was forced to make an emergency landing Wednesday due to severe turbulence, the airline confirmed to FOX 35. 

Southwest spokesperson said Flight 4372 left Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport just after 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday and was diverted to Tampa due to severe turbulence. 

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The airline said the captain declared an emergency on board, which is a requirement to deviate from a flight plan. The captain also requested that paramedics be available when the flight landed to assess any injuries.  Two people were injured in the emergency landing, and they were transported to a hospital in Tampa to be evaluated. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

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"Our mechanics reviewed the aircraft, and we worked with customers whose travel was impacted by an arrival in Orlando that was approximately four and a half hours behind schedule," the Southwest spokesperson said in a statement. "With our apologies for their delayed journey, there is no priority higher than the safest operation of every flight."

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Flight records from FlightAware.com show that the flight left Tampa International Airport just after 2 p.m. and landed in Orlando before 2:30 p.m. 


Kevin Smith, his wife, and their two daughters were on board a Southwest Airlines plane from New Orleans to Orlando for a Disney trip when it experience severe turbulence and had to be rerouted to Tampa.

Kevin Smith, his wife, and their two daughters were on board the plane from New Orleans to Orlando for a Disney trip. 

"I had my little girl sitting next to me. And so it was her first flight, and so I just kind of covered her up so she couldn't see the mayhem. And I just really couldn't allow myself to be scared in the moment. So surprisingly, I was just very calm, and I just prayed to be honest."

Smith said he had experienced turbulence on a flight before, but nothing compared to this.

"We had absolutely no warning, and I mean, everything was flying everywhere," he explained. "People that weren't buckled in were banging their heads on the roof."

Smith said they chose to rent a car and drive to Orlando instead of waiting for a flight. They said they would also rent a car to return to New Orleans.

"I'm safe. My girls are safe. And that's really all that's important is how I'm looking at it now," he added.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement: "Southwest Airlines Flight 4273 landed safely at Tampa International Airport around 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, April 3, after the crew reported severe turbulence. The flight departed from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and was headed to Orlando International Airport. The FAA will investigate. Please contact the airline for additional information."