1 dead, 71 injured as Singapore Airlines flight hits severe turbulence


A Singapore Airlines passenger has died and 71 others were injured after the plane encountered extreme turbulence during a flight from London to Singapore on Tuesday.

Key points:

  • Boeing 777-300ER, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was about 10 hours into the flight to Singapore when turbulence occurred over Myanmar, leaving a 73-year-old British man dead and six others suffering serious injuries.

  • Photos and videos of the incident have been shared on social media, and passengers have recalled the terrifying moments on the airplane.

  • The cause of the turbulence is unclear. Singapore's Ministry of Transport has launched an investigation.

The details:

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  • The flight SQ321 took off from Heathrow at 10:38 p.m. local time on Monday. As the plane was at an altitude of 37,000 feet over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar, it encountered a “sudden extreme turbulence” that caused the plane to descend rapidly to 31,000 feet. The pilot had to declare a medical emergency landing, diverting the flight to Bangkok.

  • The 73-year-old man, whose name has been withheld, died on board after he reportedly suffered a heart attack. The man’s wife along with 70 other injured passengers were taken to the Samitivej Srinakarin hospital. The other passengers who were not injured were examined at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and flown to Singapore on Tuesday.

  • Passengers, including 28-year-old student Dzafran Azmir, detailed the terror on board to Reuters.

"Everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling, 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."

  • Images circulating online depict the aftermath of the turbulence, revealing scattered food and debris within the airplane, along with significant damage to the overhead bins.

  • Although it is still unclear what caused the episode, satellite data indicated unstable atmospheric conditions and developing storms in the region.

Singapore Airlines’ statement:

"Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologize for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight."

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  • Singapore Airlines, renowned globally as a premier airline, has maintained a record free of significant incidents in recent years until this incident. The airlines confirmed that a team has arrived in Bangkok to support local authorities and provide assistance to the passengers and crew, both at the hospital and the airport. They are currently working with relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

  • According to the airline, the nationalities of the passengers included four Americans, 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one Icelander, four from Ireland, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards and 47 from the United Kingdom.

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