Heavy turbulence on a flight from Paris to south-west China left at least 20 people injured, some with broken bones and head wounds, Chinese media said.
Reports said some of the passengers struck the overhead luggage compartments as they were thrown from their seats on the China Eastern Airlines flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Kunming, in Yunnan province.
Xinhua state news agency said: “The injured, including four with severe injuries, suffered from bone fractures, scalp lacerations, soft tissue injuries.”
The news agency said the injuries were caused by “baggage falling or crushing on overhead bins”.
Passengers posted on social media that some people did not fasten their seatbelts shortly before landing, when the turbulence happened on Sunday morning.
“There were two strong bumps, and another three bumps afterwards, lasting around 10 minutes,” one passenger on flight MU774 told the Huaxi Metropolis Daily.
Another passenger said an elderly man passed out when he fell onto the floor when his armrest broke.
The crew attended injured passengers while the plane was still in the air by treating wounds with ice packages and putting on bandages.
The cabin broke into a round of applause when the plane landed at 9am – an hour after its scheduled time, another passenger said.
Local authorities in Kunming were “still checking the overall number of injured”, Xinhua added in its report late Sunday.
The incident comes after China Eastern Airlines faced criticism after a dog that it was transporting was found dead. It also incensed some Chinese web-users by offering to pay compensation by the kilogram.
The airline made global headlines earlier this month when one of its planes had to turn back to Sydney when a technical problem left a hole in one of the engines.