20 in intensive care after turbulence scare
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20 in intensive care after turbulence scare

58 people from Singapore Airlines flight that made emergency landing still being treated at Bangkok hospitals

Airport officials gather near the aircraft ladder attached to the stricken Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER on the tarmac at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)
Airport officials gather near the aircraft ladder attached to the stricken Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER on the tarmac at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Twenty people remained in intensive care in two Bangkok hospitals on Wednesday, following treatment for injuries sustained during extreme turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday.

Samitivej Hospital said a total of 85 people — 79 passengers and six crew — were treated at three medical facilities, with 58 remaining in hospital and 27 discharged. Five of the latter were scheduled to fly back to Singapore on Wednesday evening.

Earlier reports said six people suffered severe injuries, while 39 had moderate injuries and the rest suffered minor injuries caused during the flight on Tuesday from London, in which a 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack.

The London-Singapore flight was carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members when its pilot contacted Suvarnabhumi air traffic control with a request to make an emergency landing.

The remaining 131 passengers and 12 crew members who were on board Flight SQ321 arrived in Singapore via a relief flight on Wednesday morning, SIA said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

They were greeted at Changi Airport by the airline’s CEO Goh Choon Phong, who earlier expressed his “deepest condolences” to the family and loved ones of the deceased passenger.

The passenger who died was identified as Geoffrey Kitchen, 73, of Thornbury, Gloucestershire, according to The Telegraph newspaper in the UK. He and his wife Linda were among 47 British passengers aboard the flight when it plunged around 6,000 feet within minutes amid extreme weather over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar.

“We also deeply apologise for the trauma experienced by all passengers and crew members on this flight. We are providing all possible assistance and support to them, along with their families and loved ones, during this difficult time,” Mr Goh said in a statement released by the airline.

SIA said transport to their homes or hotel accommodation had been arranged for passengers who were travelling to Singapore. For those with onward connections, the carrier has rebooked them on alternative flights and arranged hotel accommodation or lounge access for them until their flights depart.

“A dedicated SIA team from Singapore is in Bangkok to assist our colleagues and the local authorities. We are providing all possible support to the passengers and crew from SQ321 who remain in Bangkok,” the airline said.

An AFP photographer reported people in Singapore Airlines yellow vests entering the stricken Boeing 777-800ER on Wednesday as it remained grounded at the airport. The cabin of the plane was severely damaged by the incident.

The Australian government told the BBC that eight Australians were among those injured. Malaysia’s foreign ministry said nine of its nationals were hospitalised, including one in critical but stable condition.

Officials from the British and Malaysian embassies visited Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital on Wednesday to check on their nationals.

There were no Thai passengers on the flight, according to information released on Tuesday night by the airline. It said the nationalities of the passengers were as follows: 56 from Australia, 2 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 3 from India, 2 from Indonesia, 1 from Iceland, 4 from Ireland, 1 from Israel, 16 from Malaysia, 2 from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, 5 from the Philippines, 41 from Singapore, 1 from South Korea, 2 from Spain, 47 from the UK and 4 from the United States.

According to a statement from Samitivej Hospital, those in intensive care at Samitivej Srinakarin and Samitivej Sukhumvit hospitals included 3 Australians, 6 British, 1 Chinese, 1 Filipino, 6 Malaysians, 1 New Zealander and 2 Singaporeans.

Another 38 inpatients were being treated at Samitivej Srinakarin, Samitivej Sukhumvit and Bangkok Hospital. They included 1 American, 9 Australians, 9 British, 5 Filipinos, 1 Indian, 2 Irish, 1 South Korean, 3 Malaysians, 2 New Zealanders, 1 Myanmar, 1 Spanish and 3 Singaporeans.

A passenger injured in the turbulence aboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 is taken to a waiting ambulance after the emergency landing on Tuesday at Suvarnabhumi Airport. (Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

Representatives of the British embassy visit Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital where most of the injured passengers and crew of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 were being treated on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

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