Twelve people, including three children, were taken to hospital after a transatlantic jet diverted to Shannon Airport after encountering turbulence over the Atlantic this morning.

United Airlines flight UA-880 made an unscheduled landing at Shannon shortly before 6am.

The Boeing 767-300 jet, with 207 passengers and crew of 13 on board, was flying from Houston in the United States to London Heathrow at the time.

The plane diverted and landed safely and was met at the terminal by ambulance paramedics.

A total of ten passengers and two cabin crew were taken to University Hospital Limerick where they were treated for lacerations, soft tissue and minor head injuries.

Eleven of those being treated were discharged shortly afterwards. 

It is understood a flight attendant is still in hospital with a fractured wrist. 

The air accident investigation unit confirmed that there was no internal or external damage to the plane.

Following such an instance the plane must undergo a full technical check before it will be allowed to depart from Shannon. 

It is understood the plane unexpectedly encountered clear air turbulence.  

A number of passengers and crew who were not wearing seat belts were tossed about and sustained minor injuries.

The pilot did not declare an emergency but sought a medical diversion to Shannon, 800km south of the airport at 5.40am.

A spokesman confirmed that the aircraft "experienced severe and unexpected turbulence".

"We wish these passengers and crew a quick recovery from their injuries," the spokesman added. 

A replacement aircraft has now left Shannon to bring the passengers to London.