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Turbulence injures 26 on flight, diverted to Miami

MIAMI — More than two dozen people were hurt when a Continental Airlines jet hit turbulence on a flight from Brazil to Texas, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Miami early Monday, officials said.

Four people were seriously injured and another 22 were in stable condition with bumps and bruises, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Elkin Sierra said. A total of 13 people were taken to local hospitals.

Continental Flight 128 was traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Houston with 168 people on board when it was diverted, Miami International Airport spokesman Marc Henderson says.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the plane landed safely at 5:30 a.m. The plane reported hitting severe turbulence at 4:30 a.m.

Houston-based Continental did not immediately respond to messages left for a spokesman.

Those not seriously injured would be flown on to Houston, the airport spokesman said.

Henderson said the plane was scheduled to return to Houston, though he did not know what time. The uninjured passengers remained on the plane nearly three hours after landing. Because it was an international flight, "if they get off, they have to be cleared, and I am not aware that they have been cleared off the plane."