71 injured, one dead after Singapore Airlines hits severe turbulence, makes emergency landing at Bangkok Airport

Objects strewn across seats and aisles after severe turbulence struck Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 321, causing pandemonium mid-flight.

BANGKOK, Thailand – Singapore Airlines flight SQ 312, en route from Heathrow Airport, London to Singapore, was forced to make an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3:34 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 after the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, encountered intense turbulence, resulting in injuries to 71 passengers and the tragic death of one person.

Among the injured people, 45 suffered serious injuries, while 26 others suffered minor injuries. One passenger identified as Geoffrey Kitchen, a 73-year-old British national died of a suspected heart attack.

Initial reports indicated that severe weather and resultant turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar about 10 hours into the flight caused the emergency. The Boeing 777 had just crossed the Andaman Sea and was approaching the Thai coast when it hit the turbulence. Thunderstorms were reported in the area. The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok to ensure the injured passengers received immediate medical attention and to address the fatalities.

FlightRadar24 data shows the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet when it suddenly descended to 31,000 feet over three minutes shortly after 08:00 GMT. The plane stayed at 31,000 feet for nearly 10 minutes before rapidly descending and landing in Bangkok within half an hour.

Data from FlightRadar24 revealed that the aircraft was cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet when it suddenly and sharply descended to 31,000 feet over approximately three minutes, shortly after 08.00 GMT. The plane remained at 31,000 feet for nearly 10 minutes before making a rapid descent and landing in Bangkok within half an hour.

“Suddenly the aircraft started to tilt up and there was shaking,” said a passenger. “I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop. Everyone seated and not wearing a seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling, hitting their heads on the baggage cabins overhead puncturing the panels.”

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER sits on the tarmac at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport surrounded by emergency vehicles following the diversion of flight SQ321 from London to Singapore due to severe turbulence.

Suvarnabhumi Airport activated its medical emergency response plan, swiftly deploying medical teams to assist the injured passengers. The exact cause of the deaths has not yet been determined.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, instructed the Airports of Thailand (AOT) to provide full assistance and support to the passengers and crew. AOT officials, in collaboration with Singapore Airlines, offered care and assistance as passengers awaited an onward flight to Singapore. A relief aircraft from Changi Airport was expected to arrive in Thailand around 9:45 p.m. last night.

Suvarnabhumi Airport swiftly activates its medical emergency response plan, dispatching teams to aid injured passengers from Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 321.

Suriya also emphasized the importance of safety amid the current volatile weather conditions, which include heavy rainfall in certain regions, urging all aviation agencies and airlines to prioritize passenger safety.

Singapore Airlines expressed its condolences in a statement: “Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We are working with the local authorities in Thailand to provide the necessary medical assistance and are sending a team to Bangkok to offer any additional support needed.” (Agencies)