A jumbo jet traveling from Japan to Australia struck "clear air" turbulence south of Papua New Guinea early Wednesday, tossing passengers out of their seats and injuring 17 people.

Ansett Australia Flight 882, with 79 passengers and 17 crew, was en route from Osaka, Japan, to Brisbane International Airport when it struck heavy turbulence at its cruising altitude south of Papua New Guinea."We had absolutely no warning of the turbulence that was to hit the aircraft, and it was only momentary," said Siobhan Dooley, an Ansett Australia spokeswoman. "A majority of the passengers injured have indicated that they were not wearing seat belts."