73-year-old Thornbury retiree Geoff Kitchen dies of heart attack following severe Singapore Airlines flight turbulence

Geoff Kitchen

22nd May 2024 – (Singapore) Severe turbulence aboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 resulted in the death of 73-year-old British retiree Geoff Kitchen, marking a sorrowful event during the journey.

 The turbulence occurred as the flight, which departed from London’s Heathrow Airport, passed over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin en route to Singapore. The plane was subsequently diverted to Bangkok.

Kitchen, a well-regarded figure from Thornbury near Bristol, was embarking on a six-week ‘holiday of a lifetime’ with his wife when the tragedy struck. The Boeing 777-300ER encountered sudden violent turbulence, causing passengers and crew to be hurled around the cabin, some hitting the ceiling.

At a press briefing, Suvarnabhumi Airport’s General Manager, Kittipong Kittikachorn, indicated that Kitchen likely suffered a heart attack triggered by the extreme conditions. The flight, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, made an emergency landing in Bangkok. Images from inside the aircraft post-landing depicted a scene of chaos and distress among the passengers.

Geoff Kitchen was celebrated in his local community not only for his involvement in the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group but also for his civic engagement. He had participated in local council elections as an independent, focusing on revitalizing the town’s cultural core. His dedication to the community and the arts extended over 35 years, during which he held several leadership roles within the theatre group.

In a tribute on social media, the theatre group remembered him as a man of “utmost honesty and integrity,” and expressed profound condolences to his family, requesting privacy during this difficult time.

Following the incident, 131 passengers and 12 crew members continued their journey to Singapore on a relief flight, while others, including Kitchen’s wife who is receiving medical care, remained in Bangkok. Many of the injured suffered head injuries, adding to the urgency of the situation.

The episode has sparked an investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau, in cooperation with Thai authorities, to determine the exact cause of the turbulence and assess any potential safety improvements. Singapore Airlines has expressed its commitment to supporting the ongoing investigation and extended its deepest sympathies to those affected, particularly the bereaved family of Mr. Kitchen.