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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Ross

Six Brits on Singapore Airlines flight still fighting for their lives as survivors describe ‘sheer terror’


Six Britons are still fighting for their lives in hospital and survivors have spoken out after a Singapore Airlines flight was hit by “severe extreme turbulence”.

There was a total of 20 passengers in intensive care units in Bangkok on Wednesday evening as investigators arrived in the Thai capital to learn how the turbulence sent the plane into a sudden dive.

The incident happened 10 hours into the flight from London Heathrow to Singapore, when the Boeing 777 carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, dropped 6,000ft in about three minutes.

The dive tossed people around the cabin, with some suffering head injuries from hitting the ceiling.

After regaining control, the captain diverted the plane to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, where medical teams evaluated those aboard and sent more than 80 to hospital.

One person onboard the flight said passengers were ‘doing somersaults’ as the plane was hit by severe turbulence (Reuters)

In its latest update, Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where most of the injured were taken, said 20 people were being treated in intensive care, including the six Britons.

A total of 58 people were still under treatment at multiple medical facilities, and 27 had been discharged.

There was also tragedy, with 73-year-old Geoffrey Kitchen dying from a suspected heart attack. Mr Kitchen, from Thornbury near Bristol, was described as “the most wonderful human” by a friend on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, passengers who survived the ordeal emerged to speak to the press.

Josh Silverstone, who suffered a cut to his eye and a chipped tooth, said he woke up on the floor of the plane (AP)

Jerry, who was travelling to his son’s wedding, told the BBC the day was “the worst of my life”.

Speaking with a bandage covering part of his head, he said: “[It was] so sudden, there was no warning at all, and I ended up hitting my head on the ceiling, my wife did.

“Some poor people walking around ended up doing somersaults. It was absolutely terrible, and then suddenly it stopped and it was calm again, and the staff did their best to tend to the injured people.”

The British man killed in severe turbulence was named as Geoffrey Kitchen, from Thornbury near Bristol (Facebook)

Josh Silverstone, from south London, was discharged from hospital after suffering a cut to his eye and a chipped tooth.

The 24-year-old, who was on his way to Bali, said: “I woke up on the floor, I didn’t realise what happened, I must’ve hit my head somewhere. There were people laying out on the floor, they were paralysed.”

Fellow passenger Beverley Mayers, who was not injured, described the situation inside the plane as “sheer terror”.

“The whole plane was shuddering ... great pieces were falling off and dropping on the floor, people getting hit in the head,” she told Australia’s TV channel Nine.

Singapore Airlines said the flight encountered “sudden extreme turbulence” at 37,000ft above Myanmar’s Irrawaddy basin.

131 passengers and 12 crew members were well enough to travel on to Singapore‘s Changi Airport on Wednesday morning (EPA)

The airline’s chief executive, Goh Choon Phong, said: “We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through. We are fully cooperating with the relevant authorities on the investigations.”

The carrier said 131 passengers and 12 crew members from Flight SQ321 who were well enough to travel were picked up on a special flight and arrived early Wednesday at Singapore‘s Changi Airport.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said officials are supporting the family of the passenger and are in contact with local authorities.

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