Singapore Airlines CEO Says 'Very Sorry' After Turbulence Leaves Flight Passenger Dead, 70 Injured

As many as 211 passengers and 18 crew members were onboard the Singapore-bound Boeing 777 flight.

Singapore Airlines CEO said that all possible assistance is being provided to passengers and the crew. Photo: AP/Facebook

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong issued a public apology day after one passenger died and over 70 others were injured due to the severe turbulence on SQ321 London to Singapore flight.

Phong, in a video message, said, "We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone onboard SQ321 went through."

The Singapore Airlines flight, which took off from London's Heathrow Airport, hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet (around 1,800 meters) in a span of about three minutes on Tuesday. As many as 211 passengers and 18 crew members were onboard the Boeing 777 flight.

Notably, upon encountering turbulence, the Boeing 777 pilot declared medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok and landed on May 21.

A 73-year-old British man was left dead in this traumatic incident. General Manager of the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Kittipong Kittikachorn, said that the man "likely" died from a heart attack.

Phong said that Singapore Airlines is "deeply saddened" by this incident. "It has resulted in one confirmed fatality and multiple injuries. On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased," he added.

"Our priority is to render all possible assistance to our passengers and crew members," the Airlines CEO said, adding that "Singapore Airlines swiftly dispatched a team to Bangkok last night and they have been helping our colleagues with the support on ground."

He said that a relief flight with 143 of the SQ321 passengers and crew members, who were able to travel, landed in Singapore this morning.

Other 79 passengers and six crew members, meanwhile, are still in Bangkok, including those who are receiving medical treatment. Singapore Airlines will continue to extend all possible support to them, Phong said.

Singapore Airlines was using a 16-year-old 777 model for the SQ321 service hit by severe turbulence.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lawrence Wong extended his condolences to "family members and loved ones of the deceased". “Unfortunately, we are marking Vesak Day this year with news of the incident on the SQ321 flight earlier today. We are all saddened and shocked by what happened,” he said in a Facebook post.

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing extended its condolences and said that it is in contact with Singapore Airlines, adding that it stands "ready to support them".

The nationalities of the passengers aboard the Singapore Airlines flight were: 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one from Iceland, four from Ireland, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards, 47 from the United Kingdom and four from the United States.

(With agency inputs)