Turbulence trashes SQ flight from London

SINGAPORE, 22 May 2024: Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore was forced to make a medical emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday following a sudden extreme turbulence incident over the Irrawaddy basin Myanmar.

In a press statement, the airline said the plane was flying at 37,000 feet when it encountered “sudden extreme turbulence 10 hours into the flight between London Heathrow and Singapore.

The interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 was trashed by sudden extreme turbulence over Myanmar. SQ321 made a medical emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport on 21 May. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer).

Flightradar24’s flight tracking data indicates the aircraft encountered a “suspected turbulence event” that recorded at one point a negative vertical rate of 1,500 (fPM) while flying over the southern tip of the Irrawaddy delta in Myanmar. The plane landed at Bangkok’s  Suvarnabhumi Airport at 1600 Tuesday. Earlier reports of a 6,000-foot drop in four minutes were subsequently corrected by Flightradar24 statement on Facebook on Wednesday.

A 73-year-old British citizen, Geoff Kitchen, died of a suspected heart attack, and 58 people were injured and hospitalised in three Bangkok hospitals, with at least two in ICUs. The airline reported 211 passengers and 18 crew members were on board the Boeing 777-300ER.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lawrence Wong sent his condolences to the family members and loved ones of the man who was killed in the incident. In a Facebook post, the PM said they were “all saddened and shocked by what happened. We are working closely with Thai authorities and doing everything we can to support the passengers and crew.”

SIA provided a breakdown of the nationalities of the passengers on board SQ321:

6 from Australia, 2 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 3 from India, 2 from Indonesia, 1 from Iceland, 4 from Ireland, 1 from Israel, 16 from Malaysia, 2 from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, 5 from the Philippines, 41 from Singapore, 1 from South Korea, 2 from Spain, 47 from the United Kingdom, and 4 from the United States.

“Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB), an arm of the Transport Ministry, is investigating what happened on SQ321,” Channel News Asia reported.

(Source: CNA and SIA)


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