Screams, chaos, blood on the ground: passengers describe terrifying turbulence on flight SQ321 | Singapore

YoIt had been an uneventful journey from Heathrow. After 10 hours in the sky, flight SQ321 from London to Singapore was just hours from its destination, over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar, when the plane went down. Passengers said it happened in an instant, with little time to respond to warnings to fasten seat belts. The plane descended 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) in just three minutes. Unbuckled passengers were thrown toward the ceiling and through the aisles as the plane entered an area of ​​severe turbulence.

The flight attendants were serving breakfast at the time. Coffee and cups of water were thrown into the air, and people’s phones, shoes and cushions were thrown.

“So many people hurt. Head lacerations, bleeding ears. A lady was screaming in pain with back problems. I couldn’t help her, she just brought her water,” one passenger, Andrew Davies from London, wrote on social media. He said there was very little warning. “The seat belt sign came on, I put my seat belt on right away and the plane just went down.”

Photos from inside the cabin showed oxygen masks and panels hanging from the ceiling, and the floor covered in food and drink, with luggage strewn about. Blood stains stained the cabin carpets. One passenger told Reuters that the plastic roof panels had broken from the impact of people’s heads hitting them..

‘Totally horizontal’: passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight affected by turbulence – video

Jerry, 68, a Briton traveling to Australia for his son’s wedding, told the BBC there was no warning before the plane went down. “I had just gone to the bathroom, came back, sat down, there was a little bit of turbulence and suddenly the plane went down. “I don’t know how far, but it was a long road,” he said. Both he and his wife hit their heads on the ceiling.

“Some poor people who were walking ended up doing somersaults. It was terrible. And suddenly she stopped and was calm again.

“The staff did everything possible to care for the injured, there are many. And some of the staff were injured, so they did a great job,” Jerry said.

The interior of Singapore Airline flight SQ321 after experiencing severe turbulence. Photograph: obtained by Reuters/Reuters

Singapore Airlines said the flight had encountered “sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at 37,000 feet” about 10 hours after departure. The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft. It landed in Bangkok at 3:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

A 73-year-old man, named Geoffrey Kitchen, from Thornbury, Gloucestershire, died in the incident. The retired insurance professional was traveling with his wife to Singapore on their way to a holiday in Australia. According to Thai authorities, he suffered from heart disease and probably suffered a heart attack. A total of 71 people, six of them with serious injuries, were taken to hospital. Many suffered head injuries, according to Thai officials.

“Some people hit their heads on the luggage cabins and dented them, hit the places where the lights and masks are and went through them,” Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on board the flight, told Reuters.

After landing in Bangkok, medical teams quickly boarded the plane and carried away the most seriously injured on stretchers. The Boeing 777 was carrying 211 passengers – mostly from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand or Singapore – and 18 crew members. Of the 71 people brought for treatment at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, 26 suffered minor injuries, 39 suffered moderate injuries and six were seriously injured.

Teandra Tukhunen, who was among those treated at hospital and whose left arm was in a sling, told Sky News UK that she was asleep when the turbulence hit.

“I woke up because of the turbulence, and then when they put on the seat belt sign, almost immediately, immediately after that I was thrown onto the roof, before I had time to buckle up, unfortunately,” Tukhunen, a 30-year-old man . -Melbourne years, he said.

Ambulances carry injured passengers on a flight from London to Singapore on Tuesday. Photo: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

“Because it was so fast, they didn’t get any notice,” he said. “It was very fast, just a couple of seconds and then you are shocked.”

He thanked the pilot, who in his opinion had “saved our lives,” saying, “We’re alive, so that’s the only thing that matters in the end.”

Davies also described airline staff as “stoic”, even though some were injured. “A Singapore Airlines crew member said it was by far the worst in his 30 years of flying,” he wrote. “The lesson is: wear your seat belt at all times. “Anyone who was injured was not wearing a seat belt.”

On Wednesday morning, 131 passengers and 12 crew members arrived in Singapore on a relief flight. Singapore Airlines said it is cooperating fully with authorities. Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau said it is investigating the incident and will send investigators to Bangkok.