‘Terrible experience’: Aussies flying from London to Singapore, wound up in Bangkok hospital

At least eight Australians are in hospital after deadly mid-air turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight out of London forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

May 22, 2024, updated May 22, 2024
More than 50 Ausralians were among the passengers seriously injured when the flight hit freakish turbulence. (Photo: Supplied)

More than 50 Ausralians were among the passengers seriously injured when the flight hit freakish turbulence. (Photo: Supplied)

A 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack and 30 other passengers were injured when the plane hit severe turbulence 10 hours into the flight, flinging people around the cabin as the plane plunged about 6000 feet within minutes.

There were 56 Australians onboard among the 211 passengers and 18 crew.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said her thoughts were with those affected by the in-air incident.

“This is a terrible experience that these people have gone through,” she said.

“The Australian government will provide consular assistance wherever we can, wherever it’s needed to those people,” she told Seven’s Sunrise program on Wednesday.

“I know the embassy in Bangkok and the High Commission in Singapore are actively trying to contact those Australians at the moment … we will do everything we can to help.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said it was making further inquiries to determine if other Australians were affected.

The flight from London hit an air pocket and dropped suddenly while en route to Singapore, prompting the pilot to request an emergency landing in Bangkok.

Passengers’ heads slammed into the lights above seats, breaking some of the panels, Reuters reported.

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Singapore Airlines’ chief executive Goh Choon Phong said the company had expressed condolences to the family of the passenger who had died.

“We also deeply apologise for the trauma experienced by all passengers and crew members on this flight,” he said in a statement.

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

Australian and International Pilots Association safety and technical director Steve Cornell, who has flown the same type of aircraft involved in the incident, said the level of turbulence experienced was uncommon.

“There are three categories of turbulence: light, medium and severe …. severe turbulence is quite a rare occurrence. You frequently encounter light and moderate turbulence but severe turbulence is very rare,” he told AAP.

“There would be a lot less injuries if passengers did keep their seatbelts fastened at all times, regardless of if the seatbelt sign is off or on.”

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