Singapore Airlines flight diverts after severe turbulence leaves one dead, dozens injured

Singapore Airlines flight diverts after severe turbulence leaves one dead

(Photo: Social Media)

According to Reuters, more than 140 passengers and crew from a Singapore Airlines flight that experienced severe turbulence, resulting in dozens of injuries and one death, finally arrived in Singapore on a relief flight Wednesday morning after making an emergency landing in Bangkok.

The Boeing 777-300ER, scheduled to fly from London to Singapore, diverted to Bangkok after turbulence tossed passengers and crew around the cabin, with some hitting the ceiling. A 73-year-old British passenger suffered a suspected heart attack and died, and at least 30 people were injured.

“I saw people from across the aisle going completely horizontal, hitting the ceiling and landing back down in like really awkward positions. People, like, getting massive gashes in the head, concussions,” said Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on the flight, to Reuters upon arriving in Singapore.

Photos from inside the plane showed damaged overhead cabin panels, hanging oxygen masks and panels, and scattered luggage. One passenger reported that some people’s heads had struck the lights above the seats, breaking the panels.

Singapore Airlines arranged a relief flight from Bangkok, carrying 131 passengers and 12 crew, which arrived in Singapore just before 5:00 AM (2100 GMT). The original flight had 211 passengers, including many Australians, British, and Singaporeans, and 18 crew members; the injured and their families stayed in Bangkok.

“On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased,” said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong in a video message.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat stated on Facebook that officers from Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday night to investigate.

Since the incident involved a U.S. company, Boeing, which manufactures the 777-300ER, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending an accredited representative and four technical advisers to assist with the investigation.

Goh mentioned that the plane encountered sudden extreme turbulence, prompting the pilot to declare a medical emergency and divert to Bangkok. Flight tracking data from FlightRadar24 indicated that at 0749 GMT, the flight experienced “a rapid change in vertical rate, consistent with a sudden turbulence event.” The tracking provider noted that there were severe thunderstorms in the area at the time.