WATCH: One dead, several injured as Singapore Airlines plane makes emergency landing

One passenger died and 71 people were injured when their Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore encountered severe turbulence on Tuesday, throwing passengers and crew around the cabin and forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

The Boeing 777-300ER was about 10 hours into its flight and midway through meal service when it hit turbulence while flying over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin, according to the airline.

Andrew Davies, a passenger onboard flight SQ321 traveling to New Zealand for business, told a foreign news outlet reporter that it had been a “perfectly normal” flight when the seatbelt sign came on, and seconds later “all hell broke loose.”

“The plane just felt like it dropped. It probably only lasted a few seconds, but I remember vividly seeing shoes, iPads, iPhones, cushions, blankets, cutlery, plates, and cups flying through the air and crashing into the ceiling. The gentleman next to me had a cup of coffee, which went straight all over me and up to the ceiling,” Davies said.

Davies said he realized the “gravity” of the turbulence when he turned around, describing several passengers with gashes on their heads, including one with “blood pouring down her face” and an elderly passenger in “severe shock.”

Video and images from inside the aircraft showed the extent of the damage, with overhead compartments smashed open and emergency oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling. A photo of one galley showed a section of the ceiling open with parts of the plane’s interior hanging down. Trays, containers, plastic bottles, and hot beverage pots were strewn across the floor.

A 73-year-old British man died in the incident from a suspected heart condition, the General Manager of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Kittipong Kittikachorn, said Tuesday, adding that the autopsy process was still ongoing.

The man was later identified as Geoff Kitchen, described as “always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity” by the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group (TMTG), where he worked for over 35 years.

The British Foreign Office told foreign news outlet that it was supporting the family of a British passenger who died on the Singapore Airlines flight.

Davies, who was seated toward the front of the plane, said he helped tend to Kitchen, who was seated behind him.

“Lots of people needed some help, but we tended to this gentleman, and I helped carry him, get him out of the seat, and we laid him on the floor so that some medical professionals could administer CPR,” Davies said, adding the passenger was administered CPR for about 20 minutes.

The Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, which received the injured passengers, said at least 71 people were injured, with six severely. Those injured include citizens of Malaysia, the UK, New Zealand, Spain, the US, and Ireland.

Kittikachorn, who inspected the aircraft, said some injured passengers sustained broken arms.

The flight, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew, had left London’s Heathrow Airport around 10:30 p.m. local time, according to online flight trackers. It was bound for Singapore’s Changi Airport, but the aircraft was diverted to Bangkok, where it landed at 3:45 p.m. local time, according to the airline.

Video filmed after Singapore Airlines SQ321 was diverted to Bangkok shows a passenger being carried from the aircraft on a stretcher by emergency responders.

Kittikachorn said that following the landing in Bangkok, almost 200 travelers were waiting to take onward flights to their destinations. A Singapore Airlines plane carrying 131 of the 211 passengers later departed Bangkok for Singapore, he said.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement that the airline is “providing all possible assistance and support” to the passengers and their families.

“On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased passenger. We also deeply apologize for the trauma experienced by all passengers and crew members on this flight,” he said.

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement that it was investigating the situation involving flight SQ321, and the US National Transportation Safety Board is sending personnel to Singapore to help support the investigation.

A statement from the airline said the plane “encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin [a river in Myanmar] at 37,000 feet, about 10 hours after departure.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

‘NPC Protest’: PTI’s Shoaib Shaheen, 80 others charged with vandalism, murder,...

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Police On Saturday registered a case against PTI leader Shoaib Shaheen and 80 others over a violent protest outside the...