1 dead, many injured after London-Singapore flight hit severe turbulence

There were 211 passengers onboard

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 hit extreme turbulence and made an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok | X Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 hit extreme turbulence and made an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok | X

One person died and others were injured when a London-Singapore flight encountered severe turbulence on Tuesday. According to Singapore Airlines, its Flight SQ321 from Heathrow was diverted to Bangkok and landed at 3:45 pm local time at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The deceased was identified as a 73-year-old British man. According to authorities, he was travelling along with his wife, who was rushed to the hospital after the emergency landing.

The airline said the aircraft was a Boeing 777-300ER with a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board. At least three Indians were onboard.

After the landing, local emergency crews from Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital were on site to transfer injured people off the runway for treatment. 

While addressing a press conference, Kittipong Kittikachorn, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport said that seven people were in critical condition at Srinakarin hospital. 

"I confirm the death toll is one person … we learned he had a heart condition. The death is now to be subject to an autopsy but we think it could be caused by a heart attack. The deceased was a British national, 73 years old," he said.

The police have taken over the case and the body will be sent to the autopsy department then they will contact the embassy, he added.

Kittikachorn also said that the incident happened during the meal service, about two to three hours before the flight was due to land in Singapore. 

“Investigations are ongoing,” Kittikachorn said. “About 100 out of the roughly 200 passengers will be ready to travel on to Singapore tonight. They are having dinner now and Thai Airways will take them the rest of the way later,” he said.

Around 30 people on the flight suffered minor injuries and most of them were cuts to the head.

Singapore Airlines in a statement earlier confirmed that the Boeing 777-300ER underwent severe turbulence causing one fatality. 

Videos that emerged on social media showed emergency services at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

“Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew onboard the aircraft. We are working with the local authorities in Thailand to provide the necessary medical assistance, and sending a team to Bangkok to provide any additional assistance needed," said Singapore Airlines in the statement. 

Singapore Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said the government would assist the passengers and their families. "I am deeply saddened to learn about the incident onboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London Heathrow to Singapore," he posted in a statement on Facebook.

According to the flight tracking data, Flight SQ321 dropped 6,000 feet minutes from its cruising altitude after crossing the Bay of Bengal. 

One of the passengers onboard told Reuters that the aircraft suddenly started "tilting up and there was shaking."

"So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop so everyone seated and not wearing a seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling," 28-year-old student Dzafran Azmir said.

"Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it."


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