Singapore Airlines Makes Emergency Landing in Bangkok after One Person is Killed and 30 Others are Injured after Flight Is Hit by 'Severe Turbulence'

Those not wearing seatbelts were "launched into the ceiling," one passenger said, with their heads slamming into the overhead luggage containers.

One passenger died and at least 30 others were injured on a flight from London to Singapore on Tuesday, which plummeted for several minutes in extreme turbulence before making an emergency landing in Thailand. The flight was diverted to Bangkok after experiencing severe turbulence.

The Boeing 777 plane operated by Singapore Airlines left UK's Heathrow Airport on Monday at 10:17 pm local time with 211 passengers and 18 crew members on board. However, flight SQ321 experienced severe turbulence while flying near Myanmar airspace, an area currently being battered by extreme tropical thunderstorms. Terrified passengers described how they had little warning to put their seatbelts on before the aircraft suddenly dropped.

In the Eye of the Storm

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After around 11 hours of flying time from takeoff in London, the aircraft sharply dropped from an altitude of around 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet within just five minutes as it finished traversing the Andaman Sea and neared Thailand.

Those not wearing seatbelts were "launched into the ceiling," one passenger said, with their heads slamming into the overhead luggage containers.

The plane, registered as 9V-SWM, was diverted to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, where it made an emergency landing at 3:45 pm local time, the airline announced on its Facebook page.

It had been scheduled to land at Singapore Changi Airport at 6:10 pm local time.

Ambulances were pictured on the tarmac next to the plane, with emergency service workers seen carrying at least one person away on a stretcher.

Local media reported that one passenger had died and around 30 others were injured, leading to the emergency landing. It was not immediately clear where the person who died in the incident was from.

One man who said he was on the flight took to X (formerly Twitter) to describe the incident.

Andrew Davies, from Lewisham, London, wrote that he and other passengers who were not injured in the turbulence were currently waiting in a holding area at the airport. "Lots of people injured - including the air stewards who were stoic and did everything they could," he wrote.

"Bangkok emergency services quick to respond. Very little warning. The seatbelt sign came on, I put on my seatbelt straightaway then the plane just dropped."

Severe Crisis Situation

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Davies further wrote that "passengers with medical training" were working to help the injured in the aftermath of the plane's drop. "CPR on the poor gentleman that passed. Another passenger laid flat in aisle further behind me. Not sure what happened with them," he said.

"People's belongings scattered, coffee and water splattered the ceiling. Surreal. So many injured people. Head lacerations, bleeding ears. A lady was screaming in pain with a bad back. I couldn't help her - just got her water."

In a statement on Facebook, Singapore Airlines confirmed the emergency landing and the unfortunate death of one passenger in the incident.

"Singapore Airlines flight #SQ321, operating from London (Heathrow) to Singapore on 20 May 2024, encountered severe turbulence en-route," the statement from the airline read. "The aircraft diverted to Bangkok and landed at 1545hrs local time.

"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," it said.

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

"Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft,' the statement added. '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."