Connect with us


Passengers tell of horror flight in which British man, 73, dies



    1. Watch: Passenger injured by turbulence carried out of plane

      As we’ve been reporting, severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore led to the death of one passenger, while dozens others were injured.

      We now have some footage from inside the aircraft, showing the moments after the plane made its emergency landing at Bangkok Airport in Thailand.

      The video shows emergency services carrying a passenger from the plane on a stretcher, and the damage caused inside the cabin.

      Weather conditions looked very stormy in southern parts of Myanmar with frequent lightning strikes recorded in the area where the aircraft appeared to have lost altitude.

      The forecast for that area today indeed suggested there would be isolated to occasional embedded cumulonimbus cloud – more commonly known as thunderstorm clouds – present up to an altitude of 50,000 ft (15,240 metres).

      The winds inside a cumulonimbus cloud are the most turbulent with severe up and down drafts.

      We don’t know yet whether the pilot of the Singapore Airlines plane was flying within this cloud with some turbulence before hitting a severe downdraft, which would have forced the plane to lose altitude very quickly.

      Or, if the pilot tried to avoid the storms, you can also get “Clear Air Turbulence” (CAT), which can be forecast in some areas but unpredictably occur in cloudless skies around the large cumulonimbus cloud.

Reporting from Singapore Changi Airport

At Singapore’s Changi Airport, officials have set up a waiting area for relatives of passengers in a quiet corner of the terminal.

It’s shielded from the public with large barriers, and security guards have been posted outside.

The media – and curious members of the public – have been barred from entering.

Various officials – easily identifiable by their lanyards – have been walking in and out of the area and some are wearing vests that say “care”, indicating that a care team is on standby to help the passengers recover from their traumatic experience.

Sign at Singapore airport

Recap: British man dies in ‘sudden extreme turbulence’ on flight

Emergency vehicles transport injured passengers from Suvarnabhumi Airport, to a hospital in Samut Prakan province, Thailand, 21 May 2024
Image caption: Emergency vehicles transport injured passengers from Suvarnabhumi Airport, to a hospital in Samut Prakan province, Thailand

If you’re just joining us, here’s what we know so far:

  • A British man, 73, has died on a flight from London to Singapore that hit “sudden extreme turbulence” over Myanmar
  • Authorities in Bangkok – where the plane diverted – say he “likely” suffered a heart attack
  • The man was travelling with his wife; she has been admitted to hospital
  • In total, 30 people were taken to hospital, seven with critical injuries
  • There were 211 passengers and 18 crew on board – the passengers were mainly from Australia, the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, and Malaysia
  • One passenger says anyone not wearing a seatbelt was “launched into the ceiling”
  • Another describes screaming and “head lacerations”

    Singapore Airlines details nationalities of those on board

    In its statement, Singapore Airlines also provided details on the nationalities of those on the flight.

    As a reminder, there were a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board.

    The nationalities of the passengers are:

    • 56 from Australia
    • 47 from the United Kingdom
    • 41 from Singapore
    • 23 from New Zealand
    • 16 from Malaysia
    • Five from the Philippines
    • Four from Ireland
    • Four from the US
    • Three from India
    • Two from Indonesia
    • Two from Myanmar
    • Two from Spain
    • Two from Canada
    • One from Germany
    • One from Israel
    • One from Iceland
    • One from South Korea

      BREAKINGFlight experienced ‘sudden extreme turbulence’, airline says

      Singapore Airlines has just released another statement, giving further details on the number of injured passengers.

      It says the flight from Singapore to London encountered “sudden extreme turbulence” over the Irrawaddy Basin (Myanmar) at 37,000 feet (11,300m) about 10 hours after departure.

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

      As of 19:50 Singapore time (11:50 GMT), 30 people we receiving treatment in hospital in Bangkok.

      The remaining passengers and crew were being examined and given treatment, where necessary, at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the airline said.

      “Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologise for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight. We are providing all necessary assistance during this difficult time,” it adds.

      Singapore sending investigators to Bangkok

      Some news from Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, who say they will be deploying investigators to Bangkok.

      In a statement, Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) officials say they will liaise with counterparts in Thailand to look into the Singapore Airlines flight SQ321.

      The TSIB is statutory board under Singapore’s Ministry of Transport and is an independent investigation authority.

      It is usually responsible for the investigation of air, marine and land transport accidents and incidents in Singapore.

      Flight expected to arrive in Singapore from Bangkok in a few hours

      Reporting from Singapore Changi Airport

      Singapore Changi Airport

      I’m at the arrivals area of one of Changi Airport’s terminals, where airport officials have set aside a spot for the media to gather.

      It’s a typically busy weekday night with a steady stream of passengers passing through the doors.

      In just a few hours a Singapore Airlines plane travelling from Bangkok will land, carrying some passengers from SQ321 who are unhurt and wish to continue with their journey to Singapore.

      We understand that the relatives of the passengers, when they arrive, will be escorted to a special waiting area away from the media.

      Singapore Airlines has promised to give us more information, and we’ll bring you more updates as soon as we receive them.

      ‘All of a sudden I was hitting the roof’

      Thanyarat Doksone

      Reporting from Bangkok

      A British man who was traveling with his family on the flight tells me how the turbulence began.

      “It was probably 10 hours in the flight, so there were people walking around. And there was no sign to put the seat belts on,” he says.

      “There was no turbulence prior to that. It went from no turbulence to this one turbulence. No plane shaking at all and then I was hitting the roof. All of a sudden, I was up like that.

      Quote Message: My son was thrown down on the floor two rows behind me. I heard that there was a guy hitting the roof in the toilet and he was injured quite badly, too.”

      Mild turbulence, then a big jolt, says passenger

      Lindle Markwell

      Reporting from Bangkok

      I’ve just been speaking to a British man at the Samitivej Srinakarin hospital in Bangkok who was uninjured but visibly shaken.

      He and his father were searching for his mother whom they had lost contact with since leaving the plane.

      She had an injury on the top of her head and had bled during the flight. She was conscious but when they landed she was taken in a wheelchair and transferred to a hospital separately to them.

      The man said the turbulence had been mild at first. He had just put his seatbelt on but the rest of his family group had not.

      Moments later he said there was a big jolt. The father suffered a cut to his head during the turbulence and had a bandage on his head but said he felt OK.

      The man’s sister and brother-in-law are also at the hospital with head and back injuries that they did not think were too serious.

      They were growing increasingly anxious about their mother and wife.

      But midway through one of their calls to the British Embassy, the hospital staff approached and said they had located her in a room on one of the wards here – the men were then swiftly taken to see her.

      I’ve been told that the British Embassy have a team en route to this hospital to assist British passengers.

      Were you a passenger on the flight?

      Were you a passenger on board the flight?

      If it is safe to do so, you can also get in touch in the following ways:

      In some cases a selection of your comments and questions will be published, displaying your name and location as you provide it unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.

      ‘Everyone not wearing a seatbelt was launched into the ceiling’ – passenger

      Some more statements from passengers now – Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student, tells Reuters news agency the aircraft suddenly started “tilting up and there was shaking”.

      “So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop so everyone seated and not wearing a seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling.

      Quote Message: 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.”

      Boeing ‘ready to support’ Singapore Airlines

      Boeing – the US-based manufacturer of the plane involved – has said it is in contact with Singapore Airlines and is offering support.

      Singapore Airlines was using a 16-year-old 777 model for the SQ321 service hit by severe turbulence.

      The statement from Boeing continued: “We extend our deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one, and our thoughts are with the passengers and crew.”

      International correspondent, BBC Newsnight

      Allison and Josh

      At 09:10 this morning, a message appeared on Allison Barker’s phone. It said: “I don’t want to scare you, but I’m on a crazy flight. The plane is making an emergency landing… I love you all.”

      Her son Josh was on his way to a holiday in Bali. Allison didn’t hear anything else for another two hours.

      “It was terrifying,” she tells me. “I didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t know whether he’d survived, it was so nerve wracking. It was the longest two hours of my life. It was awful; it was petrifying.”

      Eventually she did manage to speak to Josh. He had been on the Singapore Airlines flight and described a scene of absolute terror for those on board.

      “One minute he was just sitting down wearing a seatbelt, the next minute, he must have blacked out because he found himself on the floor with other people. There was water everywhere, blood everywhere, people’s belongings just strewn all over the plane.”

      Luckily, Josh had sustained just minor injuries. “He’s in a lot of pain, I think he’s got some broken teeth, injuries to his mouth, but I don’t think there’s anything more serious than that.”

      But Allison’s fear is the lasting damage won’t be physical. “When he found out that somebody had died, you can imagine the realisation that it could have been him, that he was so close to dying.”

      For someone who was already nervous about flying, she thinks the experience will be hard to get over.

      “I think it’s going to have a lasting impact on him, coming so close to death. It’s just going to reinforce his fears.”

      Air stewards did everything they could, passenger tells BBC

      Inside Bangkok Airport where passengers from Singapore airlines flight are being kept after severe turbulence caused the aircraft to make an emergency landing

      A short while ago we heard from Andrew Davies who was on the Singapore Airlines flight – he has sent us an image from inside Bangkok Airport where passengers are being kept.

      “One of the Singapore Airlines crew said it was by far the worst in her 30 years of flying,” Andrew says.

      He describes seeing some passengers giving first aid and also shouting for a defibrillator.

      “So many injured people – head lacerations, bleeding ears,” Andrew says. “A lady was screaming in pain with a bad back. I couldn’t help her – just got her water.

      “Lots of people injured – including the air stewards who were stoic and did everything they could.

      “I wish I could have helped more.”

      Andrew describes people’s belongings being “scattered” and “coffee and water splattered the ceiling”.

      “Surreal,” he says.

      Injured passengers wait at Bangkok hospital

      Lindle Markwell

      Reporting from Bangkok

      I’m at Samitivej Srinakarin hospital in Bangkok. We understand that injured passengers have been brought here.

      I’m unable to enter the emergency department as they are keeping the press at bay but I can see people down the corridor who look like passengers sitting with suitcases next to them, including a man in a neck brace.

      In pictures: Damage from inside flight

      Pictures from inside Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 are now coming in, and the images begin to paint a picture of just how intense the turbulence was on board the flight.

      Emergency oxygen masks are seen hanging from the ceiling, as monitors and parts of the plane’s interior appear to be torn off.

      Oxygen masks and parts of the plane's interior appear to be dangling from walls and ceiling
      parts of the plane's interior appear to be ripped off the walls.
      Food and bottles are spilt on the floor of the plane.

      Dozens injured during flight

      The news conference in Bangkok airport has finished, so let’s bring you some updated figures on the number of people injured on the Singapore Airlines flight.

      One man, a 73-year-old British national, has died, and likely suffered a heart attack, authorities say.

      Seven people are in a critical condition following the severe turbulence.

      In a previous post, we told you 23 passengers and nine crew members have been injured. The number of passengers injured is in fact much more, with 53 passengers hurt.

      Kittipong Kittikachorn, director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, speaks during a news conference at the airport in Bangkok
      Image caption: Kittipong Kittikachorn, director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, speaks during a news conference at the airport in Bangkok

      Wife of British man admitted to hospital

      More detail now from the authorities in Thailand, who say that the 73-year-old British man who died on the flight was travelling with his wife.

      She has also been admitted to a hospital in Bangkok, but her condition is not mentioned.

      Suvarnabhumi airport general manager Kittipong Kittikachorn tells the news conference that people were putting on their seatbelts as the turbulence hit.


Verified by MonsterInsights