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Updated May 21, 2024, 9:19am EDT
Southeast Asia

One dead, dozens injured after London to Singapore flight hit by severe turbulence

FILE PHOTO: Singapore Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Caroline Chia
Caroline Chia/Reuters
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One person has been killed and dozens injured after a Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence on its journey from London to Singapore on Tuesday.

Authorities in Thailand said that a 73-year-old British man who was traveling with his wife died in the incident, likely of a heart attack. Seven people are in critical condition and 14 others have been taken to the hospital. In total, 23 passengers and nine crew members were injured, the authorities said.

The Boeing 777-300ER, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was diverted to Bangkok after it hit the stormy conditions while flying close to Myanmar.

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Flight tracking data suggests the airliner plunged 6,000 feet in a matter of minutes after it crossed the Bay of Bengal, the BBC reported.

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One passenger on board the flight described what happened to Reuters: “Suddenly the aircraft starts 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 seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling,” Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student, told the agency.

“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,” he said.

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Fatalities and injuries from air turbulence are relatively rare, while experts say episodes of severe turbulence are likely to increase as a result of climate change.

Singapore Airlines offered 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 sending a team to Bangkok to provide any additional assistance needed,” it said in a statement.

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