Severe Turbulence On Flight Leaves 1 Dead, 30 Injured

By Jason Hall

May 21, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

One person has died and more than 30 others were injured after a Singapore Airlines Boeing plane experienced severe turbulence, causing it to plunge 6,000 feet, before making an emergency landing on Tuesday (May 21), the New York Post reports.

The Boeing 777-300ER jet was traveling from Singapore to London at the time of the incident, which occurred at around 3:45 p.m. local time in Bangkok, where the aircraft landed. A total 211 passengers and 18 crew members were on board the plane at the time of the severe turbulence.

“Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” the airline said in a statement obtained by the New York Post on Tuesday.

The casualty wasn't immediately identified publicly as a passenger or crew member at the time of the initial report. FlightRadar24 tracking data showed the Singapore Airlines Boeing jet sharply drop from an altitude of 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet within a span of five minutes as it was flying over the Andaman Sea about 11 hours into the flight.

“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,” said Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on board the flight at the time, via Reuters. “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.”

The plane stayed at an altitude of 31,000 feet for about 10 minutes before rapidly descending into Bangkok for its emergency landing, according to the tracking data. Photos shared online showed food and debris scattered throughout the aircraft as part of the aftermath of the severe turbulence.

The injured victims were transported to Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital from the runway by local emergency crews.

“Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft,” the airline said via the New York Post. “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.”

Boeing aircrafts have been reported to have experienced several serious incidents after the door plug panel blew off of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max mid-flight on January 5, which has led to Senate hearings over safety culture and manufacturing quality. Last week, the engine of a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 747 jet caught fire during takeoff, which forced it to make an emergency landing, the New York Post reports.

Ten more would-be whistleblowers have publicly chastised Boeing over safety inspections after the first two, John Barnett, 62, and Joshua Dean, 45, died mysteriously within weeks of each other.

“These men were heroes. So are all the whistleblowers. They loved the company and wanted to help the company do better,” said Brian Knowles, a Charleston, South Carolina attorney who represented both Barnett and Dean, via the New York Post earlier this month. “They didn’t speak out to be aggravating or for fame. They’re raising concerns because people’s lives are at stake.”

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