BREAKING: One dead as Singapore Airlines flight hit by turbulence

BREAKING: One dead as Singapore Airlines flight hit by turbulence
(Image credit: Markus Mainka/Adobe Stock)

A 73-year-old British man has died and several passengers have been taken to hospital after an aircraft en route from London to Singapore experienced “severe turbulence” on Tuesday morning, forcing an emergency landing.

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321, operated with a Boeing 777-300ER, landed in an emergency in Bangkok at 15:45 local time (08:45 GMT).

The airline said: “Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, operating from London Heathrow to Singapore on 20 May 2024, encountered severe turbulence en route.

“We can confirm that there are injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing 777-300ER. There were a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board.

“Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.”

The airline has since confirmed that 18 people have been taken to hospital and another 12 have received treatment due to the incident. At least 10 ambulances were deployed to the scene.

The authorities in Bangkok said the deceased man likely died due to a heart attack. However it is still unclear what happened onboard the aircraft.

The flight left the UK after 22:00 on Monday night, but en route to Singapore, it experienced a period of severe turbulence as it flew through tropical thunderstorms.

Data from the aircraft tracking service FlightRadar24 suggests the plane dropped by almost 6,000ft in fewer than 10 minutes as it flew over Thailand – just before the emergency landing.

Images posted on social media showed broken overhead panels in the aircraft cabin ceiling.

Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student who was onboard the flight, told 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 a seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, where the plane landed, told Thailand’s Channel 3: “The plane fell into an air pocket and requested an emergency landing in Thailand because they were in our airspace …

“People were injured and all of them had been sent to Srinakarin hospital. For other passengers, the airline has arranged alternative flights and they will transit via Suvarnabhumi airport.”

This is a breaking news story and ARGS will bring more information as we have it.