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13 Jun 2024 6:02
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  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    British man, 73, dead and 8 Australians hospitalised after London-Singapore flight hits severe turbulence

    A 73-year-old British man has died and dozens are injured after a Singapore Airlines flight from London struck "severe turbulence" and was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.


    Singapore Air
    Singapore Air

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says eight Australians on board the London-Singapore flight have been hospitalised in Bangkok for injuries. 

    One person is dead and dozens are injured after a Singapore Airlines flight from London struck "severe turbulence" and was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

    DFAT said the Australian Embassy in Bangkok and the Australian High Commission in Singapore were continuing to make inquiries to confirm if any further Australians are affected. 

    Incident happened during breakfast service

    The Boeing 777-300ER plane with 211 passengers and 18 crew was headed to Singapore when it diverted at 3:45pm (local time) on Tuesday, the airline said in a statement.

    Fifty-six Australians were on board the plane. 

    The flight fell into an air pocket while the cabin crew was serving breakfast, Suvarnabhumi Airport general manager Kittipong Kittikachorn told a press conference.

    He said a 73-year-old British man died during the incident, likely due to a heart attack.

    Singapore Airlines also confirmed the death and said 18 people were hospitalised, including a crew member.

    Mr Kittikachorn said head injuries were sustained among seven people who were critically injured.

    "Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased," the airline said in a statement.

    "Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft."

    'Very dramatic drop': People 'dented' overhead cabins

    Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on board the flight, told Reuters the aircraft started "tilting up and there was shaking". 

    "So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop," he said.

    "So everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling."

    "Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it."

    Uninjured passengers have disembarked and another aircraft will fly them onwards, Suvarnabhumi Airport said.

    Singapore's Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat said in a statement he was "deeply saddened to learn about the incident" on flight SQ321. 

    "Ministry of transport, Singapore, Singapore ministry of foreign affairs, civil aviation authority of Singapore and Changi airport officials, as well as SIA staff, are providing support to the affected passengers and their families," he said.

    "My deepest condolences to the family of the deceased."

    Boeing said it was in contact with Singapore Airlines and was ready to provide support.

    The last Singapore Airlines fatalities were in October 2000 when a plane crashed on a closed runway during take-off in Taiwan. Eighty-three people died.

    Singapore Airlines has had seven accidents, according to records by the Aviation Safety Network.

    ABC/Reuters

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    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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