One Dead After ‘Extreme Turbulence’ on Singapore Airlines Flight

A 73-year-old man from Britain died and dozens of individuals had been injured after a aircraft encountered “sudden extreme turbulence” about 10 hours right into a flight from London to Singapore, officers mentioned on Tuesday.

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER operated by Singapore Airlines, was diverted to Bangkok, the airline said in a statement, and landed at 3:45 p.m. native time on Tuesday.

In all, 71 individuals, together with passengers and crew members, had been injured, a hospital in Bangkok mentioned. The hospital, Samitivej Srinakarin, mentioned that of the 71 individuals from the flight who had been being handled in its medical community, six had been injured significantly. It listed 4 of the injured as being from Britain, with three from Malaysia, two from New Zealand and one every from Ireland, Spain and the United States. Other victims’ nationalities weren’t identified.

The remaining passengers and crew had been examined and handled at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, the airline mentioned. Singapore’s Ministry of Transport mentioned it was analyzing the episode and would ship investigators to Bangkok, and the National Transportation Safety Board within the United States mentioned it will ship a consultant and 4 technical advisers to assist. The Thai prime minister mentioned his authorities would “assist with everything necessary for the injured.”

The man died aboard the flight, mentioned Kittipong Kittikachorn, the director of Bangkok’s airport, with out figuring out him by identify or giving a explanation for demise. The man’s spouse was injured and brought to a hospital, Mr. Kittipong mentioned.

The common flight time of that route is slightly below 13 hours. Mr. Kittipong mentioned at a information convention that he went onto the airplane after it landed and described the scene as “a mess.”

The flight, SQ321, took off from Heathrow at 10:38 p.m. native time on Monday with 211 passengers and 18 crew members. The airline mentioned it encountered turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin over Myanmar, at 37,000 toes. Data on Flight Radar 24, a web site that compiles public details about flights, appears to show that about 10 hours later, it went from 37,000 toes to an altitude of roughly 31,000 toes in just a few minutes.

The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the flight to Bangkok.

About 100 passengers who weren’t injured had been to be flown to Singapore on Tuesday, Mr. Kittipong mentioned. He described them as being in a state of shock.

It’s unclear what induced the episode. As the aircraft traveled throughout Myanmar, satellite tv for pc knowledge confirmed a powerful storm starting to type and bubble into the upper elevations, which means that the ambiance within the area was changing into unstable. The aircraft was additionally shifting towards different storms that had been creating alongside the coast of Myanmar.

Recent analysis signifies that turbulence is rising and that local weather change is a trigger, particularly elevated carbon dioxide emissions that have an effect on air currents.

José Alvarado, a pilot with the Icelandic airline Play, mentioned that in his expertise, clear-air turbulence, which occurs most ceaselessly at excessive altitudes, can happen with out warning. For that cause, he tells passengers, “Even if there’s no turbulence, keep your seatbelts on.”

Once, greater than twenty years in the past, when he was working as a flight attendant, he skilled turbulence on a flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires that was so extreme that he was thrown upward when the aircraft instantly dropped about 4,000 toes. His again and shoulder blades hit the ceiling of the cabin earlier than he was thrown again down.

“I was just bouncing up and down,” he mentioned, including that some passengers additionally had been injured. He mentioned he had not skilled something like that since.

Chee Hong Tat, Singapore’s minister for transport, mentioned in an announcement that he was “deeply saddened to learn about the incident.”

Singapore Airlines supplied its condolences to the household of the one who died on the flight, including that “we deeply apologize for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight.”

Judson Jones and Jenny Gross contributed reporting.

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