Singapore Airlines: 1 dead, 30 injured after ‘severe turbulence’ rocks Boeing 777

At least one passenger is dead and dozens more are injured after a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore encountered “severe turbulence” and dropped thousands of feet in the air.

A passenger on board the flight said he saw people being launched into the ceiling of the Boeing 777, leaving dents in the overhead baggage holds after the plane suddenly dropped in altitude.

Singapore Airlines confirmed that there were “injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing 777-300ER,” and offered its “deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” in a statement posted to Facebook.

The person who died was a 73-year-old British man who had a heart condition and may have suffered a heart attack, authorities said, though this cause of death has not been confirmed. The man’s identity has not been officially released.

The Times of London reports the man to be 73-year-old Geoffrey Kitchen, an actor and theatre director from the Bristol area.

In an updated statement Tuesday, Singapore Airlines shared that 18 passengers were hospitalized and 12 more were being treated on an outpatient basis. There were 211 passengers — including two Canadians — and 18 crew members on the flight. The status and identity of the Canadian passengers is not publicly known at this juncture.

“The remaining passengers and crew are being examined and given treatment, where necessary,” Singapore Airlines said.

The flight was diverted to Bangkok and landed at around 3:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The airline said it is working with local authorities in Thailand to provide medical assistance.

Tracking data captured by FlightRadar24 and analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Singapore Airlines flight cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,300 metres). Just after 8 a.m. GMT, the Boeing 777 suddenly pitched down to 31,000 feet (9,400 metres) over the span of three minutes, the data suggests.

A 28-year-old student who was on board the flight told Reuters that the plane experienced a “dramatic drop” and passengers who weren’t wearing seatbelts were flung into the ceiling.

“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,” Dzafran Azmir said. “Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented them. They hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through.”

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