Nathan Pratt, a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, was asleep on American Airlines flight 734 from Miami to Washington, D.C. when he felt a massive drop.
"(I) definitely saw people holding their hands and praying," Pratt said.
Heavy turbulence forced the American Airlines Boeing 737, bound for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, to make an emergency landing in Charleston, S.C. Three people were injured and taken to the hospital for treatment.
The flight was carrying more than 15 students and teachers from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, who were returning from a field trip to Costa Rica.
Flight 734, which was carrying 152 passengers and six crew members, was met by EMS units on the tarmac upon landing in South Carolina just after 4 p.m.
The plane was taken out of service, while another jet carried the remaining passengers and crew to Reagan. Their flight landed just after 10 p.m.