Singapore Airlines: Passenger dies in severe turbulence on London-Singapore flight


Bangkok, Thailand
CNN

One person was killed and at least 71 injured when a Singapore Airlines flight crashed Severe turbulence On a flight from London to Singapore.

According to a post on the Singapore Airlines Facebook page, the Boeing 777-300ER flight was diverted to Bangkok. There were 211 passengers and 18 crew members.

The company initially said in a filing that 30 passengers were injured in the mid-air disruption and were being treated in hospitals, while others were being treated as outpatients at the airport.

One person who died was a 73-year-old British man, identified as Jeff Kitchen.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the deceased suffered from heart disease,” Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, said on Tuesday, adding that the autopsy process was still ongoing.

Thornbury Musical Theater Group (TMTG) confirmed Kitchen’s death in a Facebook post, where he worked for more than 35 years, describing him as “always of great integrity and honesty” and “always doing what he did”. Perfect for the group.”

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

The flight landed in the Thai capital at 3:45 p.m. local time (4:45 a.m. ET) on Tuesday.

Kittikachorn, who inspected the plane, told CNN he was told it had made an emergency landing 10 minutes before it went down. He also said that several passengers had broken arms but most of the injuries were cuts.

Some of the injured passengers were sent to the nearby Samitivej hospital in Srinagar, Kittikachorn said, adding that nearly 200 passengers were waiting for flights to their destinations. The Singapore Airlines flight, carrying 131 of the 211 passengers, then took off from Bangkok and headed for Singapore.

At least 71 people were injured, including citizens from Malaysia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and Ireland, the hospital said in an update. It is also reported that 6 people have been seriously injured. Earlier, Kittikachorn said seven people were seriously injured.

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Reuters

The interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 is pictured after it made an emergency landing at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport on May 21.

Flight tracking site FlightRadar24 says Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 experienced turbulence over Myanmar at around 7:49 am UTC (3:49 am ET), based on its data.

These lines A statement from the airline The aircraft “suddenly encountered severe turbulence over the Irrawaddy basin. [a river in Myanmar] At 37,000 feet, about 10 hours after takeoff.

FlightRadar24 said A blog post According to its data, at that time, “the aircraft experienced a rapid change in vertical rate, consistent with a sudden turbulence event.”

The data shows that the flight changed course after 14 minutes. “The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the flight to Bangkok,” the airline said.

FlightRadar24 data shows the plane, which was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet, suddenly got wet, climbed rapidly before climbing a few hundred feet, climbing again and finally settling at its cruising altitude. The entire disruption took about 90 seconds, according to the data, but resulted in dozens of injuries, including deaths.

The plane encountered a rapidly developing thunderstorm in southern Myanmar on Tuesday, when severe turbulence was reported, according to CNN Weather.

Analysis of satellite data shows an area of ​​thunderstorms over the Irrawaddy delta between 7am and 8:30am GMT (afternoon local time). This corresponds to the same time and location as reported by the airline and independent flight path data analysis from FlightRadar24.

With the onset of southwest monsoon in South Asia, increasing humidity in the region, such tropical thunderstorms are common this time of year. They can develop quickly in the afternoon as the land warms, especially near the coast.

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Developing thunderstorms like Tuesday’s may not show up on radar in their early stages, although the rapid movement within them can still produce turbulence. Storm cells may have grown from 20,000-30,000 feet to over 50,000 feet within an hour.

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam released a statement on his social media accounts, offering “condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased”.

“We do not have details of the victims, but government ministries and agencies and SIA are doing their best to support all those affected and are working with the authorities in Bangkok, where the flight was diverted,” Shanmugaratnam said.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said in a statement on his social media that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the incident”.

“Ministry of Transport, Singapore, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport authorities and SIA. [Singapore Airlines] The staff is providing support to the affected passengers and their families,” he said.

Singapore Ministry of Transport a Report It said it was investigating the situation involving SQ321 and its Transport Safety Investigation Bureau was in contact with their Thai counterparts.

Turbulence occurs when an aircraft flies through colliding bodies of air moving at different speeds.

With mild to moderate turbulence, passengers may feel a pressure against their seat belts, and unsecured objects may move around the cabin.

But in extreme cases turbulence can throw passengers around the cabin, causing serious injuries and occasionally death.

Reuters

The interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 is pictured after it made an emergency landing at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport on May 21.

In March 2023, violent movements On a private jet It resulted in the death of a former White House official, but only after an investigation was found to be weather-related Not involved in the incident. The incident happened a few days after seven people were rushed to hospital Private commercial flight struck significant turbulence.

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In July 2023, seven people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sydney, Australia, when the plane was hit by severe turbulence. 36 people In December 2022, a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Arizona to Honolulu was injured and 20 people were taken to the emergency room.

According to the September 2022 study, clear-air turbulence is projected to increase significantly worldwide during the period 2050–2080, especially along busy air routes, and stronger types of turbulence will increase more.

Singapore Airlines is often considered One of the safest carriers in the world.

The only previous accident occurred in October 2000 while the plane was flying SQ006 crashed A Boeing 747-400 took off from a closed runway amid heavy rain in Taiwan, killing all 83 people on board.

Singapore Airlines said in an update on its Facebook page late Tuesday that a dedicated team had arrived in Bangkok “to support our colleagues and local authorities”.

The airline operator “expressed its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologize for the traumatic experience our passengers and crew had on board this flight.

Boeing said it was in touch with the Singapore carrier and was “ready to support them”. The manufacturer defers further questions to the airline and local authorities.

This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described an incident involving a private jet in March 2023. The National Transportation Safety Board later ruled that weather did not play a role in the plane’s violent maneuvers.

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