'The whole plane froze': Passengers tell of alarm as dozens injured on Sydney-Auckland flight in mid-air drama

Ambulances leave Auckland International Airport on Monday (AP)
Ambulances leave Auckland International Airport on Monday (AP)

At least 50 people have been injured by what officials described as a "strong movement" on a Chilean plane flying from Australia to New Zealand.

LATAM Airlines said in a statement that there was "a technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement".

Passengers were met by paramedics when the flight from Sydney touched down in Auckland.

About 50 people were treated at the scene for mostly mild injuries, with 13 taken to hospital, an ambulance spokesperson said.

One patient was believed to be in serious condition.

The New Zealand Herald reports that a passenger experienced a "quick little drop" during the flight.

“I used to be a flight attendant and this is the first time I’ve ever . . . the whole plane just froze,” she told the newspaper.

The woman added that she saw "at least" five people being taken away by paramedics who were waiting after the plane landed.

She said she was unaware of how serious the incident was for other passengers and was pleased to have made it safely to New Zealand.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landed at Auckland Airport as scheduled and was to continue to Santiago in Chile.

"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.

A spokesman for the South American airline told the Herald there had been a "technical problem" on the flight that affected some crew and passengers, without providing further details.