A Qatar Airways flight, bound from Washington, DC to Doha, was forced into an emergency landing at the Lajes Air Base, a Portuguese military base in the Azores islands, on Sunday after severe turbulence left passengers injured.
Officials and witnesses said the Boeing 777, which was crossing the North Atlantic, dropped steeply and rapidly in altitude, throwing passengers out of their seats.
Three passengers were reportedly hospitalized; one had cardiac problems.
According to an Al Jazeera journalist on the flight, many of the passengers were stranded at the airport for nearly eight hours because they did not have the required visas to head to a hotel.
Some received medical treatment on the floor of the airport gate.
The incident has sparked a considerable social media outcry against Qatar Airways' handling of the situation.
Qatar Airways tweeted that it had secured hotels and visas for all passengers on flight QR708 who required accommodation following the landing. But tweets showed passengers clearly stranded at the airport gate for some time.
One passenger going by the name Mohamed told The Washington Post that airport vendors did not accept credit cards, leaving travelers who weren't carrying cash unable to buy food.
Al Jazeera reporter Azad Essa was among the passengers on QR708. Essa live tweeted updates throughout the entire incident.
Essa claimed that Qatar Airways did not in fact arrange visas for passengers in need at the time that the airline reported that it had.
Essa went live on Facebook as he talked to passengers about their status at the airport.
Travelers were left for hours as they waited for their visas to be issued. Some children went for over 7 hours without any food. There were no officials or ground staff to assist.
"The Qatar flight crew has already gone in the hotel , including the captain. None of the Qatar crew members or any of the ground staff have come in here to contact us," says one man in the video.