The Federal Aviation Administration says 30 people were injured — one critically — after a United Airlines jetliner headed for Los Angeles hit heavy turbulence and was diverted to Denver.

The flight originated at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. It landed safely at Denver International Airport around 7.45 pm on Tuesday (8.15 am IST, Wednesday), and was met by medical crews.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor in Los Angeles says 26 passengers and four crew members were injured. He says one person was critically hurt, but released no further details.

Denver Health Medical Centre spokeswoman Dee Martinez says 21 people have been transported to five area hospitals. Most of them have moderate injuries to the head, neck or back.

United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy says Flight 967 was carrying 255 passengers and 10 crew members. She says the crew decided to play it safe and land in Denver to tend to the injured.

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