Singapore Airlines: 3 Indians among passengers aboard flight hit by ‘sudden extreme turbulence’

Three Indian nationals were on a Singapore Airlines flight that faced extreme turbulence, resulting in one death and multiple injuries. The aircraft descended rapidly over the Irrawaddy Basin before landing in Bangkok for medical assistance.

Livemint
First Published22 May 2024
Passengers of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore, which made an emergency landing in Bangkok, greet family members upon arrival at Changi Airport in Singapore on May 22, 2024. A 73-year-old British man died and more than 70 people were injured May 21, 2024 in what passengers described as a terrifying scene aboard a Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence, triggering an emergency landing in Bangkok. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)
Passengers of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore, which made an emergency landing in Bangkok, greet family members upon arrival at Changi Airport in Singapore on May 22, 2024. A 73-year-old British man died and more than 70 people were injured May 21, 2024 in what passengers described as a terrifying scene aboard a Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence, triggering an emergency landing in Bangkok. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)(AFP)

Three Indian nationals were among the 229 passengers on board a Singapore Airlines flight that experienced "sudden extreme turbulence" over the Irrawaddy Basin at 37,000 feet, the airline confirmed on Tuesday.

As reported by PTI, the traumatic incident during which the aircraft rapidly descended 6,000 feet in approximately three minutes, resulted in the tragic death of a 73-year-old British man and left over two dozen other passengers injured.

The British man, who was not yet identified, “likely” died from a heart attack, the General Manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport Kittipong Kittikachorn said.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ321, operating from London (Heathrow) to Singapore on May 20 encountered “sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at 37,000 feet about 10 hours after departure,” the carrier said.

Also Read: Videos show 'severe turbulence' on Singapore Airlines flight: 'Blood everywhere, flight attendant thrown off'

The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok, and landed on May 21. “We can confirm that there were multiple injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft,” the carrier said in a Facebook post.

“A total of 18 individuals had been hospitalised. Another 12 were being treated in hospitals. The remaining passengers and crew were being examined and given treatment, where necessary, at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok,” Singapore Airlines said.

The Singapore Airlines flight had a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board, according to the latest statement.

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

Here's a breakdown of the nationalities of the passengers: 56 from Australia, 2 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 3 from India, 2 from Indonesia, 1 from Iceland, 4 from Ireland, 1 from Israel, 16 from Malaysia, 2 from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, 5 from the Philippines, 41 from Singapore, 1 from South Korea, 2 from Spain, 47 from the United Kingdom, and 4 from the United States of America.

Authorities have not yet disclosed the names or nationalities of the injured passengers and crew members.

“Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologise for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight. We are providing all necessary assistance during this difficult time. We are working with our colleagues and the local authorities in Thailand to provide the necessary assistance,” it said.

Singapore Airlines used a 16-year-old 777 model for the SQ321 service hit by severe turbulence.

A Singapore Airlines team from Singapore has arrived in Bangkok to support the airline colleagues and the local authorities. “We are providing all possible assistance to the passengers and crew on board SQ321, both at the hospital and the airport,” the airline said.

Also Read: Singapore Airlines ordered to pay 2 lakh to Indian couple for ‘mental agony’; here's why

SIA is also working with the relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

Relatives seeking information may call the Singapore Airlines hotlines at 65 6542 3311 (Singapore), 1800-845-313 (Australia), and 080-0066-8194 (the United Kingdom), the carrier said.

Singapore's new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong extended his condolences to “family members and loved ones of the deceased.”

“Unfortunately, we are marking Vesak Day this year with news of the incident on the SQ321 flight earlier today. We are all saddened and shocked by what happened,” he said in a Facebook post.

He added that Singapore is working closely with the Thai authorities and “doing everything we can to support the passengers and crew”.

“We pray for their safe return and smooth recovery for those who are injured. We are still getting more information from Bangkok and will provide further updates in due course,” he said.

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing extended its condolences to the family of the British man who died aboard SQ321, a Boeing 777-300ER.

“We are in contact with Singapore Airlines regarding flight SQ321 and stand ready to support them,” Boeing said on X.

(With inputs from PTI)

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