1 dead, 30 injured as severe turbulence hits Singapore Airlines flight

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER plane with 211 passengers and 18 crew was headed to Singapore when it made the emergency landing in Bangkok on Tuesday.

Updated21 May 2024
Singapore Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore November 16, 2021
Singapore Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore November 16, 2021(REUTERS)

A Singapore Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday due to severe turbulence. The airline informed that one passenger died on board and around 30 suffered injuries in the incident. The Boeing 777-300ER plane with 211 passengers and 18 crew was headed from London to Singapore when it made the emergency landing on Tuesday.

“Singapore Airlines flight #SQ321, operating from London (Heathrow) to Singapore on 20 May 2024, encountered severe turbulence en-route. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok and landed at 1545hrs local time on 21 May 2024,” the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We can confirm that there are injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing 777-300ER,” the carrier said in a statement. “Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” it posted on X.

ALSO READ: Boeing plane makes emergency landing in New York after exit slide falls off

The airlines informed that it is "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.”

What happened exactly?

According to Reuters, the aircraft, with 211 passengers and 18 crew on board, was traveling from London Heathrow and diverted to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after encountering the turbulence. “The aircraft took off from London at 10:38 pm local time on Monday,” according to FlightRadar24 data.

The data showed that after the aircraft finished crossing the Andaman Sea and got closer to Thailand, it descended quickly from an altitude of about 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet in just five minutes, after almost 11 hours of flight time from takeoff in London.

Unverified photos posted on social media showed food and other loose items strewn across the cabin floor. A video shared by Sky News showed the moment when “a flight attendant was thrown to the ceiling of the plane after violent turbulence”.

ALSO READ: Boeing 737-800 aircraft makes emergency landing in Japan due to cockpit window crack

Recalling the incident, Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on board the flight told Reuters, "Suddenly the aircraft starts 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 seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling."

The Singapore Airlines took to social media platforms to share its hotline numbers  for “relatives seeking information”. They may call the Singapore Airlines hotlines at +65 6542 3311 (Singapore), 1800-845-313 (Australia), and 080-0066-8194 (the United Kingdom), it 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," he said.

The aircraft operating flight SQ321 was 16 years old, and is one of Singapore Air’s 23 777-300ERs. Boeing didn’t immediately have a comment on the incident. Besides, Singapore Airlines has had seven accidents according to records by the Aviation Safety Network, Reuters reported.

ALSO READ: Several injured as Boeing 737 crashes during take-off in Senegal | Watch video

Earlier this year, a Boeing Co. 737 Max jet operated by Alaska Airlines made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport after a window and a portion of the plane’s fuselage blew out shortly after take-off.

Following the incident in January, Alaska Airlines grounded all of its Boeing 737-9 aircraft. “Following tonight's event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft," Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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