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‘Sheer terror’: Passengers describe turbulence-hit flight that put 20 in intensive care

Published:Thursday | May 23, 2024 | 12:09 AM
Josh Silverstone, from Britain, who was injured during the flight of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, talks to reporters at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, The Singapore Airlines flight descended 6,000 feet (around
Josh Silverstone, from Britain, who was injured during the flight of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, talks to reporters at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, The Singapore Airlines flight descended 6,000 feet (around 1,800 metres) in about three minutes, the carrier said on Tuesday.

BANGKOK (AP): Passengers on the Singapore Airlines flight that descended sharply after hitting severe turbulence described the “sheer terror” of the aircraft shuddering, loose items flying, and people wrenched so badly that 20 remained on Wednesday in intensive care.

“I arrived back in the airport and I couldn’t stop vomiting. I couldn’t walk, it was pretty bad,” said Josh Silverstone, 24, who was discharged from a hospital with a cut in his eye and a chipped tooth. He said it could have been “way worse”.

The British man said he was so scared that he bought in-flight Internet access to message his mother: “I wasn’t trying to scare her, but I said, ‘I love you.’”

It was still not clear what exactly caused the turbulence that sent the Boeing 777, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, on a 6,000-foot (around 1,800-metre) descent in about three minutes on Tuesday. The flight from London to Singapore was diverted to Thailand. A British man died, possibly of a heart attack.

Aviation investigators arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday. Singapore Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said the US National Transportation Safety Board was sending technical advisers because the incident involved a Boeing plane.

Singapore Airlines 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.

Six crew members and 79 passengers stayed in Bangkok, where the majority remained in the hospital, said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong.

Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where most of the injured were taken, said the 20 people in intensive care include six Britons, six Malaysians, three Australians, two Singaporeans and one person each from Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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 9 on arrival at Sydney airport.