Singapore Airlines: A passenger died after severe turbulence on a London-Singapore flight

Bangkok, Thailand

One person died and at least 71 others were injured on board a Singapore Airlines plane Severe disturbance On a flight from London to Singapore.

The Boeing 777-300ER was diverted to Bangkok, according to a post on Singapore Airlines’ Facebook page. She added that 211 passengers and 18 crew members were on board the plane.

The company initially said in a post that 30 passengers were injured in the turbulence and were receiving treatment in hospitals, while other travelers were receiving outside care at the airport.

The only person to have died was a 73-year-old British man, Geoff Kitchen.

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

Kitchen’s death was confirmed by Thornbury Musical Theater Group (TMTG), the organization where he worked for more than 35 years, in a Facebook post that described him as “an ever-present gentleman of the utmost honesty and integrity” who “always did what was right for the group.” ”

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

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

Kittikashorn, who inspected the plane, told CNN that he was informed of the emergency landing 10 minutes before it landed. He also said that several passengers suffered fractures in their arms, but the majority of the injuries were cuts and bruises.

Some of the infected passengers were sent to the nearby Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, Kittikachorn said, adding that nearly 200 passengers were waiting for flights to continue to their destinations. He added that a Singapore Airlines plane carrying 131 of the 211 passengers later left Bangkok for Singapore.

The hospital said in an update that at least 71 people were infected, including citizens from Malaysia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and Ireland. She added that six people were seriously injured. Earlier, Kittikachorn said that seven people were seriously injured.

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The interior of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 was taken after an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 21.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 says, based on its data, that the turbulence on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 occurred over Myanmar at around 7:49 a.m. UTC (3:49 a.m. ET).

This is in line with Statement from the airline He stated that the plane “encountered sudden severe turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin [a river in Myanmar] At 37,000 feet, about 10 hours after departure.

FlightRadar24 said in Blog post And, according to its data, at that time “the flight experienced a rapid change in vertical rate, consistent with a sudden turbulence event.”

Data shows the flight changed course after about 14 minutes. “The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the plane to Bangkok,” the airline says.

FlightRadar24 data shows that the flight, which was flying at 37,000 feet, suddenly descended and then quickly climbed a few hundred feet before descending, climbing again and finally stabilizing at its cruising altitude. The entire disruption took about 90 seconds, according to the data, but led to dozens of infections, including death.

The flight likely encountered rapidly developing thunderstorms over southern Myanmar on Tuesday during a reported period of severe turbulence, according to a CNN Weather analysis.

Analysis of satellite data shows an area where thunderstorms develop over the Irrawaddy Delta between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. GMT (afternoon local time). This is consistent with the same time and location reported by the airline and independent flight path data analysis from FlightRadar24.

Such tropical thunderstorms are typical for this time of year as humidity increases in the region with the onset of the southwest monsoon season in South Asia. They can form quickly in the early afternoon as the ground warms, especially near the coast.

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Emerging thunderstorms like the one that occurred Tuesday may not show up on radar in their early stages, although rapid upward motion within them can still produce turbulence. Storm cells will likely grow from 20,000 to 30,000 feet to more than 50,000 feet in less than an hour.

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Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam issued a statement on his social media accounts, in which he expressed his “condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased.”

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

Singaporean Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said in a statement posted on social media that he was “deeply saddened when he learned of the accident.”

“Ministry of Transport, Singapore, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Changi Airport officials as well as SIA [Singapore Airlines] He said that employees are providing support to the affected passengers and their families.

The Singapore Ministry of Transport said in statement It is investigating the situation related to SQ321 and its Transportation Safety Investigation Bureau has been in contact with their Thai counterparts.

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

In mild to moderate turbulence, passengers may feel pressure on their seat belts, and loose items may move around the cabin.

But in severe cases, turbulence can throw passengers around the cabin, causing serious injury and sometimes death.


The interior of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 was taken after an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 21.

In March 2023, violent movements On a private plane It led to the death of a former White House official, although an investigation later found that it was the weather He was not involved in that incident. This accident came just days after seven people were taken to hospitals after an accident Separate commercial flight Hit a huge turmoil.

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In July 2023, seven people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sydney, Australia, when the plane encountered severe turbulence, and 36 people They were infected on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Arizona to Honolulu in December 2022, and 20 people were taken to emergency rooms.

A September 2022 study predicts that clear-air turbulence will increase significantly around the world by 2050-2080, especially along the busiest aviation routes, and that the strongest types of turbulence will increase even more.

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

Its only previous fatal accident was in October 2000 during flight SQ006 crashed When a Boeing 747-400 took off from a closed runway in Taiwan in heavy rain, killing all 83 people on board.

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

The airline expressed its “deep condolences to the family of the deceased.” We sincerely apologize for the traumatic experience our passengers and crew had to endure on this flight.

Boeing said it was in contact with the Singapore Airlines company and was “ready to support them.” The manufacturer is deferring further questions to the airline and local authorities.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described a March 2023 incident involving a private jet. The National Transportation Safety Board later determined that weather was not involved in the plane’s violent movements.

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