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8 Australians hospitalised after Singapore flight hits turbulence

written by Jake Nelson | May 22, 2024

A Singapore Airlines 777-300ER, 9V-SWR, on approach to Melbourne. (Image: Ryan/Adobe Stock)

At least eight Australians have been hospitalised after a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER ran into severe turbulence.

The incident on Tuesday night saw flight SQ321 from London to Singapore, which was being operated by 9V-SWM (similar aircraft pictured), forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok with 211 passengers and 18 crew on board, including 56 Australians. Dozens of injuries and one death were reported.

Speaking to Sunrise on Wednesday morning, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil offered the government’s assistance to those Australians affected.

“This is a terrible experience that these people have gone through. As usual, the Australian Government will provide consular assistance wherever we can, wherever it’s needed, to those people,” Minister O’Neil said.

“I know the Embassy in Bangkok and the High Commission in Singapore are actively trying to contact those Australians at the moment.


“To anyone in our country or if you’ve got family who have been affected by this, make sure you call consular assist, and you can find the number on Google. We will do everything we can to help.”

SQ321 was approximately 10 hours into its journey when it hit turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar at 37,000 feet during a meal service, sending passengers, crew, and unattended items flying around the cabin.

In a Facebook post, the airline confirmed that 18 people had been hospitalised as of 7:50pm Singapore time on Tuesday. One passenger, 73-year-old British grandfather Geoffrey Kitchen, died after suffering a heart attack during the incident.

“Another 12 were being treated in hospitals. The remaining passengers and crew were being examined and given treatment, where necessary, at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok,” the carrier said.

A relief flight carrying 131 passengers and 12 crew members who were on board SQ321 touched down in Singapore on Wednesday morning and was met by Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines, who has apologised for the ordeal.

“On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased passenger. We also deeply apologise for the trauma experienced by all passengers and crew members on this flight,” he said.

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

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