Turbulence kills 1, injures 30 passengers on London-Singapore flight
The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft of Singapore Airlines, flight SQ321 from Heathrow is seen on tarmac after requesting an emergency landing at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport in Thailand | PTI/AP

Turbulence kills 1, injures 30 passengers on London-Singapore flight

Tracking data captured by FlightRadar24 shows Singapore Airlines flight cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet

A 73-year-old British man has died aboard a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe turbulence, Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday (May 21). The plane was diverted to Bangkok, where emergency crews rushed to help injured passengers amid stormy weather.

The Boeing 777-300ER, with a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew members on board, landed in Bangkok at 3:45 pm (0845 GMT), the airline said in a Facebook post.

Emergency crews from Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, about 20 km away from Suvarnabhumi Airport, were on site to transfer injured passengers from Flight SQ321 from Heathrow off the runway for treatment. Videos posted on the LINE messaging platform by Suvarnabhumi Airport showed a line of ambulances streaming to the scene.

Survivors recount horror

A British man who was traveling with his family on the flight told BBC, “It was probably 10 hours in the flight, so there were people walking around. And there was no sign to put the seat belts on.”

“There was no turbulence prior to that. It went from no turbulence to this one turbulence. No plane shaking at all and then I was hitting the roof. All of a sudden, I was up like that,” he said. One of the passengers said anyone not wearing a seatbelt was “launched into the ceiling”.

Speaking to BBC, a visibly shaken passenger who had not sustained any injuries said he and his father were searching for his mother whom they had lost contact with since leaving the plane.

She had an injury on the top of her head and had bled during the flight. She was conscious but when they landed she was taken in a wheelchair to a different hospital.

The man said the turbulence had been mild at first. He had just put his seatbelt on but the rest of his family group had not. Moments later he said there was a big jolt. The father suffered a cut to his head during the turbulence and had a bandage on his head but said he felt alright.

The man’s sister and brother-in-law are also at the hospital with head and back injuries that they did not think were too serious.

Medical assistance

“Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” the airline said. “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."

Tracking data captured by FlightRadar24 and analysed by The Associated Press showed the Singapore Airlines flight cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet.

Just after 0800 GMT, the Boeing 777 suddenly and sharply pitched down to 31,000 feet over the span of some three minutes, the data shows.

The aircraft stayed at 31,000 feet for just under 10 minutes before rapidly descending and landing in Bangkok in just under half an hour.

Here is how you can handle turbulences better

(With inputs from agencies)
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