One Dead, 30 Injured as Mid-Flight Incident Forces Emergency Landing

A Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore experienced severe turbulence on Tuesday, resulting in one fatality and 30 injuries. The incident prompted an emergency landing in Bangkok, according to airline officials. The airline expressed its deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased passenger and apologized for the distressing ordeal experienced by passengers and crew members. The airline is currently collaborating with Thai authorities to provide necessary support.

The deceased passenger was a male, as confirmed by Kittipong Kittikachorn, the director of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. Of the injured, 18 have been admitted to hospitals, while the remaining 12 are receiving treatment, as per the airline’s statement.

The specifics of the incident are yet to be fully understood, as the available tracking data is still under analysis. Preliminary data from FlightRadar 24 indicates that the plane experienced a sudden upward tilt, followed by a return to cruising altitude within a minute, around 07:49 GMT.

A passenger on the flight recounted the terrifying experience, describing a sudden upward tilt of the aircraft, followed by a dramatic drop. Passengers not wearing seatbelts were thrown into the ceiling, with some hitting their heads on overhead baggage cabins, causing significant damage.

FlightRadar 24’s spokesperson suggested that the turbulence event likely occurred before the standard descent from 37,000 to 31,000 feet, which is a routine flight level change in preparation for landing.

The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was en route to Singapore when the emergency landing was necessitated. Images from the flight, shared by Singapore news outlet CNA, depicted a chaotic scene with passengers clinging to seats, oxygen masks hanging from above, and personal items scattered across the aisle.

The plane requested an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3:35 pm local time and landed at 3:51 pm. The airline reported the landing time as 3:45 pm. Uninjured passengers disembarked and were arranged to continue their journey on another aircraft.

According to a 2021 study by the National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence-related accidents are the most common type of airline accidents, accounting for over a third of reported incidents from 2009 through 2018. Most of these incidents resulted in serious injuries but no aircraft damage.

Singapore Airlines, a globally recognized leader in the airline industry, has maintained a strong safety record in recent years. The last major accident involving the airline occurred in 2000, when a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles via Taipei crashed into construction equipment at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, resulting in 83 fatalities.