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One Dead and at Least 71 Injured After Severe Turbulence Hits Singapore Airlines Flight

Singapore Airlines Flight Experiences Severe Turbulence: One Dead and at Least 71 Injured in May 2024 Incident

One Dead and at Least 71 Injured After Severe Turbulence Hits Singapore Airlines Flight


A tragic incident occurred on a Singapore Airlines flight when severe turbulence led to the death of one passenger and injuries to at least 71 others. This distressing event took place as the Boeing 777-300ER, en route from London to Singapore, encountered extreme turbulence over Myanmar. The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand, as a result.

Details of the Incident

The turbulence struck flight SQ321 approximately 10 hours after its departure from London’s Heathrow Airport. The aircraft was flying over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar when it encountered sudden, severe turbulence. The plane was midway through its meal service, causing unsecured items and passengers to be thrown around the cabin.

Passenger Accounts

Andrew Davies, a passenger on the flight, recounted the harrowing experience. According to Davies, the turbulence hit shortly after the seatbelt sign was turned on. “All hell broke loose,” he described, with items such as shoes, iPads, and meal trays flying through the air. Davies also mentioned helping an elderly passenger who was severely shocked and covered in blood.

Other passengers shared similar stories of chaos and fear. One described seeing fellow travelers hitting the ceiling and then crashing back down, resulting in head injuries and severe lacerations.

Impact on Passengers and Crew

The turbulence caused significant injuries to many on board. Passengers sustained a range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones and severe head injuries. The psychological impact was also profound, with many passengers experiencing shock and trauma from the event.

Response and Emergency Measures

The flight crew responded quickly to the emergency. The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Upon landing, emergency responders were on hand to assist the injured passengers, many of whom were carried out on stretchers.

Medical Assistance

Injured passengers were taken to Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, where they received immediate medical attention. The hospital reported treating 71 individuals, with six in severe condition. Tragically, a 73-year-old British man, identified as Geoff Kitchen, died from a suspected heart condition exacerbated by the turbulence.

Singapore Airlines’ Statement

Singapore Airlines issued a statement expressing deep condolences to the family of the deceased and apologizing for the traumatic experience endured by all passengers and crew. CEO Goh Choon Phong emphasized the airline’s commitment to providing all possible assistance and support to those affected.

Technical Details of the Flight

The flight involved a Boeing 777-300ER, a model known for its safety and reliability. Data from FlightRadar24 indicated that the aircraft experienced rapid altitude changes consistent with severe turbulence, dipping and climbing several hundred feet within a short period.

Understanding Turbulence

Turbulence occurs when a plane flies through clashing bodies of air moving at different speeds. It can range from light, where passengers feel a slight strain against their seatbelts, to severe, where people and objects are violently tossed around. Severe turbulence, like that experienced on SQ321, is less common but can cause serious injuries.

Weather Conditions During the Flight

Meteorological analysis suggested that rapidly developing thunderstorms were present over the Irrawaddy Basin during the flight. These storms can form quickly and may not always appear on radar in their early stages. The intense updrafts within these storms likely contributed to the extreme turbulence experienced.

Historical Context

While incidents of severe turbulence are relatively rare, they do occur. In recent years, several flights have reported significant turbulence resulting in injuries. Singapore Airlines, widely regarded as one of the safest airlines, had its last fatal accident in October 2000 when flight SQ006 crashed in Taiwan.

Future Implications

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of turbulence. A 2022 study predicted a significant rise in clear-air turbulence by 2050-2080, particularly along busy flight routes. Airlines are increasingly looking into ways to mitigate the effects of turbulence to enhance passenger safety.

Safety Recommendations

The incident underscores the importance of wearing seatbelts whenever seated, as even brief periods of turbulence can cause injuries. Airlines are also advised to continually update their protocols and training to better handle such events.

Investigation and Follow-Up

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport and the US National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. The focus is on understanding the weather conditions and the aircraft’s response to the turbulence to improve future safety measures.


The tragic event on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 highlights the dangers of severe turbulence and the importance of safety measures. While turbulence is a common occurrence in aviation, incidents of this severity are rare but have profound impacts on passengers and crew. Continuous improvements in weather forecasting, aircraft design, and safety protocols are essential to mitigating these risks.

FAQs about Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 Turbulence Incident

 What happened to Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 on May 21, 2024?

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered severe turbulence while flying over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin during its journey from London to Singapore. This turbulence caused significant injuries among passengers and crew, leading to an emergency landing in Bangkok. Tragically, one passenger died, and at least 71 others were injured.

How can passengers stay safe during turbulence?

Passengers should always wear their seatbelts when seated, follow crew instructions, and store carry-on items securely.

What are the different types of turbulence?

Turbulence types include clear-air turbulence, mechanical turbulence, and convective turbulence, each with different causes and characteristics.

How do pilots handle severe turbulence?

Pilots reduce speed, adjust altitude, and communicate with air traffic control to navigate around turbulent areas, ensuring the safety of the aircraft.

Can turbulence cause a plane to crash?

While turbulence can be severe, modern aircraft are designed to withstand it. Turbulence alone is unlikely to cause a plane to crash, but it can lead to injuries if passengers and crew are not properly secured.

How common is turbulence during flights?

Turbulence is a natural part of air travel, often caused by storms, jet streams, and air currents. While most flights are safe, understanding its causes can help mitigate its impact

How did Singapore Airlines respond to the turbulence incident?

Following the incident, Singapore Airlines arranged for the aircraft to make an emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The airline provided medical assistance to the injured passengers and issued a statement expressing condolences and support to the affected families. Singapore Airlines also collaborated with local authorities and initiated an investigation into the incident.

Read more: Alitech Blog

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Zeeshan Ali Shah is a professional blog writer at AliTech Solutions, renowned for crafting engaging and informative content. He holds a degree from the University of Sindh, where he honed his expertise in technology. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech trends, Zeeshan’s writing provides valuable insights to his readers. His expertise in the tech industry makes him a sought-after writer, and his work at AliTech Solutions has earned him a reputation as a trusted and knowledgeable voice in the field.

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