People Were 'Thrown Back 4 or 5 Aisles' After Flight Experienced Mid-Air Drop, Passenger Says

"All of a sudden, the plane took a nosedive down," Brian Jokat told NBC News

<p>BRETT PHIBBS/AFP via Getty</p> The LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane at Auckland Airport.


The LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane at Auckland Airport.

A passenger on board the LATAM Airlines flight LA800 that experienced a "strong shake" mid-journey on Monday is speaking out about the scary incident.

Brian Jokat, 61, was sitting in a window seat when the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner suffered a sudden mid-air movement while flying from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 50 people aboard the flight, which was carrying 263 passengers and nine flight and cabin crew members, were injured.

"Everything was going well," passenger Jokat told NBC News. “Then all of a sudden, the plane took a nosedive down.” He added, “People were flying out of their seats, hitting the roof, being thrown back four or five aisles back.”

<p>DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty</p> A stock photo of a LATAM plane sitting at a gate at Los Angeles Airport.


A stock photo of a LATAM plane sitting at a gate at Los Angeles Airport.

Related: Matthew McConaughey, Wife Camila Were on Flight That 'Dropped Almost 4,000 Feet,' Hospitalized 7: 'Chaos'

Jokat said he had his seatbelt on, which he thinks saved him from being injured, adding that that wasn't the case for the person in the aisle seat of his row. “I saw him lying on the ceiling looking down at me,” he said. “He was fully out-stretched."

“And then bang, I looked behind and everyone was falling off the ceilings,” he added.

Admitting he used to rarely wear his seatbelt throughout the entire flight, Jokat insisted that “those days are over. I will always keep my seatbelt on. Because what I saw in that plane was people flying like ragdolls."

After the mid-air incident, the flight landed safely at Auckland Airport at 4:26 p.m. local time.

Related: United Airlines Flight's Nose Dive That Came Within 800 Ft. of Pacific Ocean Was Due to Pilot Error: Officials

Boeing told PEOPLE in a statement on Tuesday, “We are thinking of the passengers and crew from LATAM Airlines Flight 800, and we commend everyone involved in the response effort. We are in contact with our customer, and Boeing stands ready to support investigation-related activities as requested.”

On Monday, the Chile-based airline shared a press release, confirming the plane had experienced a "strong shake during flight." The airline stated 10 passengers and three cabin crew members were "taken to a medical center to confirm their health condition, with the majority discharged shortly after."

"Only one passenger and one cabin crew member required additional attention, but without any life-threatening risks," the statement continued. "LATAM is working in coordination with the respective authorities to support the investigations into the incident."

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Hato Hone St John, an emergency medical service, confirmed to PEOPLE in a statement on Monday that their “ambulance crews assessed and treated approximately 50 patients” after arriving at Auckland Airport. Most of the injuries were “moderate to minor.” However, one passenger was left “in a serious condition.”

The flight was scheduled to make a stopover in Auckland on its way to its final destination Santiago, Chile.

LATAM Airlines said in a statement, "For passengers continuing their journey to Santiago, Chile, flight LA1130 has been scheduled for March 12, 2024, departing from Auckland at 20:00 local time. LATAM provided affected passengers with food, accommodation, and transportation due to the flight cancellation."

"LATAM Airlines Group’s priority is to support the passengers and crew members of the flight, and apologize for any inconvenience and discomfort that this situation may have caused. They also reiterate their commitment to safety as an uncompromising value within its operational standards," the airline continued.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has since confirmed it is "in the process of gathering evidence relevant to the inquiry, including seizing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders."

"The accident involving LATAM flight LA800 occurred in international airspace," TAIC said in a statement Tuesday. "Under the International Convention on Aviation, the Chilean accident investigation authority, the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC), is responsible for investigating the accident and it has confirmed it has opened an investigation.

"The DGAC has requested the assistance of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC)," the department added.

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