Six injured by severe turbulence during Philadelphia-Orlando US Airways flight
US Airways plane (Reuters)

Six people were injured on Sunday when a US Airways jet hit severe turbulence after leaving Philadelphia International airport, the airline said.

The Airbus A330, with 265 passengers and a crew of 10 on board, had taken off from Philadelphia bound for Orlando, Florida, when it encountered unexpected turbulence at about 17,000 feet, or halfway to cruising altitude.

It was severe enough that four passengers and two flight crew were injured, although seat belts lights on Flight 735 bound for Orlando were engaged at the time, US Airways said in a statement.

The flight turned back to the airport, where the injured were taken to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment.

Other passengers continued to Orlando aboard a later flight, officials said. It was not known how serious the passengers' injuries were, they said. The injured crew were discharged from hospital later on Sunday.