Two-year-old among 40 in hospital after Singapore Airlines turbulence flight

Video caption, Watch: How chaos onboard Singapore Airlines SQ321 unfolded

  • Author, Jacqueline Howard
  • Role, BBC News

A two-year-old child is among those receiving treatment in Bangkok after a Singapore Airlines flight from London hit severe turbulence, hospital authorities have said.

Giving an update on the conditions of the injured, the director of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital said 40 people remain in hospital, with half in intensive care, with the majority suffering spinal injuries.

One person has been discharged, Adinun Kittiratanapaibool said.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered severe turbulence on Tuesday, leading to the death of 73-year-old British man, Geoff Kitchen and injuring dozens of others.

It is believed Mr Kitchen died of a heart attack.

Out of the 41 – those currently in hospital and one who has been discharged – there were 22 cases of spine and spinal cord injuries, six skull and brain injuries and 13 muscular and soft tissue conditions.

Seventeen people have undergone operations at the hospital, of which nine were related to spinal injuries, Dr Adinun said.

The two-year-old was being treated for concussion, he said.

Of those being treated in hospital, 10 are British, alongside nine Australians, seven Malaysians and four Filipinos.

The oldest patient is 83 years old, Dr Adinun said.

Image caption, Hospital director Adinun Kittiratanapaibool said the majority of injuries were spinal

The Boeing 777-300, which had 211 passengers and 18 crew members onboard, hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean on Tuesday.

Passengers on the airliner told the BBC they felt the plane drop suddenly, and saw others not wearing their seatbelts “launched immediately into the ceiling”.

The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the Thai capital.

A relief aircraft carrying the remaining passengers and crew arrived in Singapore early on Wednesday.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong has apologised, offering his “deepest apologies to everyone affected” by the “sudden extreme turbulence”.

“We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through,” he added.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who was one week into the role when the incident occurred, has promised a “thorough investigation” into the incident.

“My deepest condolences once again to the family and loved ones of the deceased. I also hope and pray that those who are injured will recover and return home soon,” he said.

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