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(CNN) – One second you're on the plane, sipping a soda and leafing through a well-worn SkyMall catalogue. The next second, you're terrified and being tossed around like a sock in the clothes dryer for what feels like an eternity.
That is how passengers are describing their experience on a United Airlines flight headed from Denver to Billings, Montana.
The plane was about 30 miles outside a town called Crazy Woman, Wyoming, when things got beyond crazy on board.
Passenger: Turbulence on United flights causes woman to crack ceiling with head
Five people had to be taken to the hospital after the plane hit what's being described as "mountain wave turbulence." Only one remains in the hospital.
Mountain wave turbluence can happen even when skies are clear, like they were during this flight. It's basically when wind blows across the top of a mountain, creating atmospheric waves. Aviation experts say it can cause planes to rise or fall about 1000 feet.
Retired American Airlines captain Mark Weiss, currently the civil aviation team lead for The Spectrum Group, joins CNN's "The Lead" to discuss.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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