1 dead after ‘severe turbulence’ hits Boeing 777 flying from London to Singapore – National

At least one passenger was killed and dozens more injured after a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore suffered “severe turbulence” and fell thousands of feet into the air.

A passenger aboard the flight said he saw people thrown into the roof of the Boeing 777, leaving dents in the overhead baggage holds after the plane suddenly dropped in altitude.

Photo of the interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, which experienced severe turbulence resulting in the death of a passenger.

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Singapore Airlines confirmed that there were “injuries and one death on board the Boeing 777-300ER” and offered its “deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” in a statement posted on Facebook.

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The person who died was a 73-year-old British man who may have suffered a heart attack, authorities told the Associated Press, although the cause of death has not been confirmed. The man’s identity was not made public.

In a statement updated on Tuesday, Singapore Airlines shared that 18 passengers were hospitalized and 12 more were being treated on an outpatient basis. There were 211 passengers on the flight, including two Canadians, and 18 crew members. The status and identity of the Canadian passengers are not publicly known at this time.

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“The remaining passengers and crew are being tested and receiving treatment, where necessary,” Singapore Airlines said.

The flight was diverted to Bangkok and landed around 3:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The airline said it is working with local authorities in Thailand to provide medical assistance.

Emergency services carry passengers off Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 on a stretcher.

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Tracking data captured by FlightRadar24 and analyzed by The Associated Press showed that the Singapore Airlines flight was cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,300 meters). Shortly after 8 a.m. GMT, the Boeing 777 suddenly and sharply fell to 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) in a span of about three minutes, the data suggests.

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A 28-year-old student who was on board the flight told Reuters the plane experienced a “dramatic plunge” and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown to the roof.

“Suddenly the plane started to tilt and there were tremors, so I started to prepare for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop, so everyone who was sitting and without a seat belt was immediately thrown out. towards the ceiling,” said Dzafran Azmir.

“Some people hit their heads on the luggage cabins above and dented them, hit the places where the lights and masks are and went through them.”

Flight tracking data showed that after the sudden drop in altitude, the plane remained at 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) for just under 10 minutes before descending rapidly and landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in just under half an hour. . The descent occurred when the flight was flying over the Andaman Sea approaching Myanmar.

The general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport held a press conference on Tuesday and shared that the flight experienced turbulence during a meal service, “about two to three hours before the flight landed in Singapore,” Kittipong Kittikachorn said, quoted by The Guardian.

The wife of the man who died in the incident was hospitalized, Kittikachorn said. Seven of the people who were hospitalized suffered serious head injuries.

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“There were many passengers who couldn’t walk and we rescued them from the plane,” Kittikachorn added.

Airport officials believe the plane fell into a “severe” air pocket, causing the turbulence, although investigations are ongoing.

“Approximately 100 of the approximately 200 passengers will be ready to travel to Singapore tonight. They are having dinner now and Thai Airways will take them the rest of the way later,” Kittikachorn said.

Boeing issued a brief statement about the incident, stating that it is in contact with Singapore Airlines and that the company is on standby “ready to support them.”

“We express our deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one and our thoughts are with the passengers and crew.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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