Singapore Airlines turbulence: 22 passengers suffered spinal cord injuries, 6 had head trauma

An Australian passenger, center, who was injured on a flight that was battered by severe turbulence, talks to reporters at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, May 23, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Twenty-two passengers from a Singapore Airlines flight that was hit by turbulence on May 21, have spinal cord injuries and six have brain and skull injuries, according to media reports.

Twenty people remained in intensive care, although none were life-threatening cases, reported The Straits Times, citing Adinun Kittiratanapaibool, director of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital.

The oldest patient at the hospital is 83, while the youngest is a two-year-old child who suffered a concussion.

He added that there were 40 patients from Flight SQ321 at the hospital. The London to Singapore flight made an emergency landing in Bangkok.

Nearly 60 passengers were injured after the flight on May 21 encountered “sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at 37,000 feet about 10 hours after departure”.

The interior of Singapore Airline flight SQ321 is pictured after an emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, May 21, 2024.

The interior of Singapore Airline flight SQ321 is pictured after an emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, May 21, 2024.
| Photo Credit:
REUTERS

Forty-six passengers and two crew members aboard the SIA flight remain in the Thai capital for medical treatment.

Sixty-five passengers and two crew members were still in Bangkok, said SIA in a Facebook post at 9.31pm on May 23.

The pilot diverted the Boeing 777-300ER carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3.45pm (4.45pm Singapore time), making an emergency landing.

Flight SQ321, which was heading to Singapore from London, experienced sudden extreme turbulence on May 21. Briton Geoffrey Kitchen, 73, died during the turbulence, reportedly due to a heart attack.

It added that SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong has been “meeting the affected passengers, crew, their family members and loved ones in Bangkok today to personally offer his support and to understand their concerns”.

Also, customer care representatives, who are staff volunteers with training to handle such situations, have been deployed to provide updates to passengers, and to help them if needed.

Goh said, “We have also facilitated the travel of their family members and loved ones to Bangkok and ensured that they are taken care of too.” He also thanked the staff at Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, and Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital, where the injured passengers and crew are believed to be hospitalised.

Singapore Airlines is in contact with all the passengers and crew members who are still in Bangkok. Customer Care Representatives, who are staff volunteers trained for such situations, have been assigned to provide updates and the necessary support and assistance to each passenger during this difficult time.



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