A transatlantic flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland after 12 people were injured due to severe turbulence.

Ten passengers, including three children, and two crew were taken to hospital after the United Airlines plane experienced turbulence.

The flight that took off from Houston, Texas, US, was on its way to London Heathrow and had to be diverted to Shannon Airport.

"United Airlines is providing care and support to customers and crew of flight UA880."

The Boeing 767-300 plane was carrying 207 passengers and 13 crew on board.

A spokesperson from United Airlines was quoted by Independent.co.uk as saying: "United Airlines is providing care and support to customers and crew of flight UA880 which experienced severe and unexpected turbulence during a flight from Houston to London Heathrow."

The aircraft landed safely at the Shannon Airport just before 6am.

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The injured passengers and flight crew were admitted to University Hospital Limerick, which treated them for minor head and soft tissue injuries.

Accidents due to turbulence occur most frequently at 30,000 ft or above.

Turbulence is often caused by atmospheric pressure, thunderstorms and jet streams.