Four occupants of an Avianca Airbus A319 have been hospitalised after an apparent turbulence incident and a diversion to Panama City.

The aircraft had been operating the AV693 service from San Jose to Bogota on 23 January, says the carrier.

Diversion of the flight, which had been operating at 35,000ft, occurred as it reached the Panama-Colombia border.

Avianca says the diversion followed the crew’s receiving an “alert” from the aircraft’s systems, without elaborating on the nature of the alarm.

It was transporting 108 passengers and five crew members but states that the aircraft experienced “abrupt movement”, prompting medical referrals for some of those on board when it arrived in Panama.

Avianca says that, as a result of initial reviews, three crew members and a passenger were taken to hospital for more detailed examination. The airline has not clarified whether the alert, the diversion and the turbulence were directly connected.

Images circulating on social media from news outlet Telediario, purporting to show the interior of the aircraft, indicate damage to interior fittings including ceiling panels.