Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Neil Lancefield and Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Singapore Airlines: 48 people from turbulence-hit flight still under treatment including seven Britons

Forty-eight people who were on board a Singapore Airlines flight diverted to Bangkok after hitting severe turbulence remain in hosptial for treatment, officials said on Friday.

The 48 patients were being treated in three hospitals in Bangkok, a statement from Samitivej Srinakarin hospital said. There was no update about patients in intensive care.

On Thursday the Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital director told reporters that 20 people were being treated in ICU, though there were no life-threatening cases.

Six people have been discharged from Samitivej Srinakarin hospital where most of the patients were, leaving 34 still under treatment including nine Australians, seven British, seven Malaysian and three Philippine citizens, the statement said.

Many of the most seriously injured people on a turbulence-hit flight on which a British man died need spinal operations, a hospital has said.

More than 100 people who were on board flight SQ321 needed hospital treatment, after the plane encountered severe turbulence while travelling from London Heathrow to Singapore on Tuesday.

The plane, which was carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew, made an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand, around 9.45am on Tuesday UK time.

Geoff Kitchen, 73, died in the incident on board the Singapore Airlines flight

Geoff Kitchen, 73, from Thornbury, Gloucestershire, died after suffering a suspected heart attack when the Boeing 777 plane hit severe turbulence almost 11 hours into the flight.

Neighbours said he and his wife, Linda, were flying to start a six week “holiday of a lifetime” in South East Asia and Australia. They had reportedly planned to go on a cruise in Indonesia before travelling to Australia.

Mr Kitchen, a musical theatre director, was remembered by those who knew him as “very adventurous” and “a really nice guy” who loved to travel.

Passenger on board flight SQ321 said the plane suffered a “dramatic drop”, meaning people not wearing a seatbelt were “launched immediately into the ceiling”.

Images posted on social media showed damage to the ceiling of the cabin, and food, cutlery and other debris strewn on the floor after the incident.

Blood appeared to be spattered on the ceiling of the cabin.

Airport officials gather near the aircraft (REUTERS)

Flightradar24 said its tracking data showed the plane encountering turbulence at approximately 8.49am BST while flying over the western border of Myanmar.

The flight tracking service said data sent from the aircraft showed a “rapid change in vertical rate, consistent with a sudden turbulence event”, adding that there were “some severe” thunderstorms in the area at the time.

The chief executive of Singapore Airlines issued a public apology on Wednesday morning.

In a video statement, the airline’s CEO Goh Choon Phong apologised “to everyone affected” by the “sudden extreme turbulence” and sent his condolences to Mr Kitchen’s family.

“We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through,” he said.

Food and debris pictured on the floor of the cabin in the aftermath of the incident (Supplied)

“We are providing all possible assistance and support to them, along with their families and loved ones, during this difficult time. The well-being of our passengers and staff is our utmost priority."

Of the 211 passengers on board, 47 were from the UK and four were Irish nationals.

One passenger described how the flight dropped and some people on board were launched upwards, hitting their heads.

Student Dzafran Azmir, 28, said: "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."

Another passenger, Andrew Davies, a father-of-two from Lewisham in south-east London, described how the plane “just dropped”.

He said passengers were left with “head lacerations [and] bleeding ears”.

Ambulances lined up on the Tarmac by the plane (AP)

“The seatbelt sign came on, I put on my seatbelt straightaway then the plane just dropped,” he said.

A mother named Allison Barker told the BBC her son Josh had broken teeth and injured his mouth during the flight.

She told the BBC: "One minute he was just sitting down wearing a seatbelt, the next minute, he must have blacked out because he found himself on the floor with other people.

“There was water everywhere, blood everywhere, people's belongings just strewn all over the plane."

Flight SQ321 left Terminal 2 at London Heathrow at around 10.15pm UK time, on Monday.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.