Jet stream-induced turbulence leads to fatal incident on Singapore Airlines flight

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    22nd May 2024 – (Singapore) A severe turbulence incident involving Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore has resulted in a tragic fatality and left numerous passengers critically injured. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after encountering unexpected severe turbulence over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin.

    A 73-year-old British passenger succumbed to a suspected heart attack during the incident. Photos circulating on social media depict a chaotic scene inside the aircraft, with food, luggage, and oxygen masks strewn about. A total of 30 passengers were reported injured, with seven in critical condition, necessitating urgent medical attention upon the plane’s unscheduled stop.

    The flight, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, experienced a dramatic altitude drop, plunging from 37,900 feet to 35,200 feet in mere seconds, data from Flightradar24 revealed.

    In response to the crisis, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong extended full support to the affected passengers and crew, emphasizing the airline’s commitment to cooperate with the impending investigation. The investigation, led by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau and supported by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, aims to uncover the factors leading to the incident without assigning blame.

    Experts suggest the turbulence might have been caused by a jet stream, characterised by high-speed air currents resulting from significant temperature differences between adjacent regions. This phenomenon, particularly prevalent in the region during this period, is known for causing clear air turbulence, which can occur unexpectedly and is often undetectable by standard aircraft radar systems.