June 18, 2024

BANGKOK: A 73-year-old British man died and greater than 70 folks had been injured Tuesday in what passengers described as a terrifying scene aboard a Singapore Airways flight that hit extreme turbulence, triggering an emergency touchdown in Bangkok.

An preliminary information evaluation by the aviation monitoring service Flightradar24 urged the London-Singapore flight skilled a couple of minute of maximum turbulence at round 11,300 meters (37,000 toes) over Myanmar, throughout which it violently rose and plunged a number of instances.

Flight SQ321 had taken off from London’s Heathrow airport and “encountered sudden excessive turbulence” over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin, in accordance with Singapore Airways.

The plane later affected a pointy, managed descent and diverted to Bangkok.

Andrew Davies, a British passenger aboard the Boeing 777-300ER, informed BBC Radio 5 that the airplane “immediately dropped” and there was “little or no warning.”

“In the course of the few seconds of the airplane dropping, there was an terrible screaming and what appeared like a thud,” he mentioned, including that he helped a girl who was “screaming in agony” with a “gash on her head.”

He described seeing folks with head lacerations and bleeding ears: “I used to be lined in espresso. It was extremely extreme turbulence.”

A lot of the injured passengers on the flight suffered blows to the pinnacle, mentioned the director of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Kittipong Kittikachorn, who confirmed the age and nationality of the deceased man.

Emergency autos raced onto the tarmac on the Thai capital’s primary airport with lights flashing and sirens blaring after the airplane touched down at 3:45 p.m. (0845 GMT).

“At 3:35 p.m. the airport obtained a misery name from the Singapore Airways flight saying there have been passengers on board injured by turbulence, and requesting an emergency touchdown,” Suvarnabhumi Airport mentioned in an announcement.

“The airplane landed on the airport and the medical workforce was despatched to deal with all of the injured.”

Numerous these aboard the airplane — 131 passengers and 12 crew members — lastly arrived in Singapore on a aid flight simply after 5:00 am Wednesday, the airline mentioned.

One other 79 passengers and 6 crew members remained in Bangkok, together with these receiving medical care.

Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in the meantime despatched his “deepest condolences” to the household and family members of the deceased, posting on Fb that his nation was “working carefully with Thai authorities.”

Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital mentioned a complete of 71 folks had been despatched for remedy, six of them severely injured.

“We deeply apologize for the traumatic expertise that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight. We’re offering all obligatory help throughout this troublesome time,” Singapore Airways mentioned.

Of the passengers, 56 had been Australians, 47 British and 41 Singaporeans, the airline mentioned.

“When it comes to precisely what occurred, it’s too early to inform. However I believe passengers are too informal on board business plane,” US-based aerospace security professional Anthony Brickhouse informed AFP.

“The second the captain turns off the seatbelt signal, folks actually unbuckle.”

Davies, the passenger, mentioned that on the very second a seatbelt signal got here on, “the airplane immediately dropped.”

Allison Barker informed the BBC her son Josh, who was aboard the airplane, texted her that he was on “a loopy flight” that was making an emergency touchdown.

“It was terrifying,” she mentioned. “I didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t know whether or not he’d survived, it was so nerve-wracking. It was the longest two hours of my life.”

Singapore’s transport ministry mentioned it will ship investigators to Bangkok, whereas the city-state’s President Tharman Shanmugaratnam mentioned “we should hope and pray” for the injured to get well.

The episode marks the most recent drama involving a Boeing airplane, after a fuselage panel blew out of an Alaska Airways 737 MAX in January in addition to two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing mentioned it was “able to help” Singapore Airways.

“We prolong our deepest condolences to the household who misplaced a beloved one, and our ideas are with the passengers and crew,” Boeing mentioned on social media platform X.

Scientists have lengthy warned that local weather change is more likely to enhance so-called clear air turbulence, which is invisible to radar.

A 2023 research discovered the annual period of clear air turbulence elevated 17 % from 1979 to 2020, with probably the most extreme instances rising over 50 %.