Severe turbulence leaves one dead and 30 injured on Singapore Airlines flight

A Singapore Airlines flight was forced to land in Thailand after a turbulence incident left several injured and one dead.
Singapore Airlines flight hits severe turbulence, one passenger dead
Singapore Airlines flight hits severe turbulence, one passenger dead / Anadolu/GettyImages

Singapore Airlines has found itself in the headlines for all the reasons why airlines do not want to be at the top of the news cycle. Singapore Airlines Flight 321 hit severe turbulence on Tuesday that left one person dead and 30 injured.

The flight was heading for London Heathrow before hitting what is called “sudden, severe turbulence” just hours after takeoff that threw passengers for a loop. There were severe thunderstorms going on at the time which impacted the flight. According to passengers on the flight, there was little time for warning, as the sudden drop sent passengers who weren’t strapped in their seats throughout the air. The flight made an emergency landing in Thailand.

“So many injured people. Head lacerations, bleeding ears,” Andrew Davies from London posted on social media as reported by Rebecca Ratcliffe and Elias Visontay of The Guardian. “The seatbelt sign came on, I put on my seatbelt straight away then the plane just dropped.”

Geoffrey Kitchen, 73 from Thornbury, Gloucestershire, died in the accident. According to Thai authorities, the belief is that he had a heart attack. 71 people in total were taken to the hospital, many had head injuries.

131 passengers and 12 crew members were on the flight when the incident occurred. Flight attendants were serving breakfast at the time.

“I woke up because of the turbulence, and then when they put on the seatbelt sign, pretty much immediately, straight after I that I was flung to the roof, before I even had time to put on my seatbelt on unfortunately,” another passenger, Teandra Tukhunen said.”

According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence-related incidents are the most common type of incident on commercial flights. However, severe injuries from turbulence are rare, with 163 cases recorded from 2009 to 2022, and 129 of those injuries are crew members.