Aviation Experts Begin an Investigation Into the Singapore Plane Accident


Aviation experts begin an investigation into the Singapore plane accident.

A Singapore Airlines plane experienced severe turbulence over the Andaman Sea, resulting in one death, dozens injured, and 20 people transferred to intensive care in a Bangkok hospital.

The Boeing 777 plunged to 6,000 feet in three minutes, causing chaos in the cabin. Passengers and crew flipped over before landing in Bangkok for a medical assessment.

Aviation authorities in Singapore and the United States are investigating the cause of the sudden dive, with passengers recounting a terrifying experience of turbulence and injuries.

  Aviation investigators arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday to find out how and why severe turbulence sent a Singapore Airlines plane into a sudden dive that tossed passengers and crew around the cabin, killing a British man and injuring dozens of others.

Twenty people remain in intensive care in hospital after flight SQ321, en route from London Heathrow Airport to Singapore, ran into turbulence on Tuesday over the Andaman Sea. The airline said that the Boeing 777 plane, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, descended to an altitude of 6,000 feet (about 1,800 meters) in about three minutes.

After regaining control, the captain diverted the plane to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where medical teams assessed those on board and sent more than 80 people to hospital. Singapore Airlines said 131 passengers and 12 crew memberswho were well enough to travelwere taken on a special flight and arrived early Wednesday at Changi Airport in Singapore.

Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines, said that six crew members and 79 passengers remained in Bangkok, where most remained in hospital.

Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where most of the injured were taken, said 20 people were treated in intensive care while 27 others had been discharged. She added that the ICU patients included six Britons, six Malaysians, three Australians, two Singaporeans, and one person each from Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The hospital said nine people underwent surgery on Tuesday, and five more operations were expected to be completed on Wednesday. It said it provided medical care to 104 people.

Josh Silverstone, 24, who was released from hospital on Wednesday, said: "I only have a cut over my eye and a broken tooth. It could be a lot worse." "Everything was fine until I got back to the airport and couldn't stop vomiting. I couldn't walk; it was so bad."

The Londoner said, "I woke up on the ground and did not realize what happened. I must have hit my head somewhere."People were lying on the ground, and they were paralyzed."

Silverstone added that he was so scared that he bought internet service on the plane to message his mother. "I wasn't trying to scare her, but I said, 'I love you.'"

He told reporters he was not looking forward to his trip to Bali on Thursday. "I was afraid of flying before. I'm even more afraid now," he said.

Her colleague Beverly Myers, who was unharmed, described the situation inside the plane as "sheer horror."

"The whole plane was shaking," she told Australian Channel 9 television upon her arrival at Sydney Airport. "Big pieces were falling and falling to the ground, and people were hit in the head."

Singapore Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on Wednesday that Singapore's Transport Safety Investigation Bureau officers arrived in Bangkok late on Tuesday.

He added that the US National Transportation Safety Board would also send an authorized representative and four technical advisors to support the investigation because the accident involved a Boeing aircraft.

Thai officials withheld the name of the dead man, but British media said he was Jeffrey Kitchen (73 years old), and he was on vacation with his wife for six weeks. She was among the passengers who were taken to hospital in Bangkok.

Kitchen has been described as having previously worked in the insurance industry and, after retirement, continuing his decades-long involvement in amateur theatre.

A Thai airport official said Kitchen may have suffered a heart attack, although this has not been confirmed.

Tracking data captured by FlightRadar24 and analyzed by The Associated Press showed Tuesday's flight was at 37,000 feet (11,300 meters) altitude.

At one point, the Boeing 777-300ER suddenly and sharply descended to an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) within about three minutes, according to the data. The plane then remained at 31,000 feet for less than 10 minutes before the flight.

Landing in Bangkok took place less than half an hour later.

Newlyweds Ali and Ramia Bukhari, returning from their honeymoon, told reporters at Sydney Airport late on Wednesday that they were relieved to return to Australia.

"It was a very traumatic experience. It is difficult for me to put it into words. No one expects this, you know," Ali Bukhari said.

Most people associate turbulence with severe storms, but the most dangerous type is clear-air turbulence. Wind shear can occur in cirrus clouds or even in clear air near thunderstorms, where differences in temperature and pressure create powerful currents of fast-moving air.

According to a 2021 report by the US National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence accounted for 37.6% of all accidents on major commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018. The Federal Aviation Administration, another US government agency, said 146 serious injuries resulted from weather turbulence from 2009 to 2021.

The US-based Association of Flight Attendants said clean air turbulence is virtually undetectable with current technology. "One second, you're going smoothly. The next day, passengers, cabin crew, unlocked vehicles, or other items are thrown around the cabin.

"Always follow crew instructions and wear your seat belt when sitting. It is a matter of life and death," he added.

In addition to the 56 Australians, the passengers included two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one Icelander, four Irish, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two Myanmar nationals, 23 New Zealanders, five Filipinos, and 41 people, Singapore Airlines said. From Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards, 47 from the United Kingdom, and four from the United States.

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