Live updates: Singapore Airlines turbulence incident (2024)

1:59 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Thanks for joining our live updates following the Singapore Airlines incident on Tuesday. Our coverage here is wrapping up but you can follow the latest developments here.

1:41 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Singapore Airlines team arrives in Bangkok

From CNN's Lauren Said-Moorhouse

Singapore Airlines has said a team has landed in Bangkok after one of its flights had to make an emergency landing in Thailand after experiencing severe turbulence.

The airline said the team had arrived in the Thai capital "to support our colleagues and the local authorities on the ground" in an update on its Facebook page.

"We are providing all possible assistance to the passengers and crew on board SQ321, both at the hospital and the airport," it added in the statement.
1:38 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Flight likely encountered rapidly developing thunderstorms over Myanmar

From CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 likely encountered rapidly developing thunderstorms over southern Myanmar on Tuesday during the time that extreme turbulence was reported.

A CNNWeatheranalysis of satellite data shows an area of developing thunderstorms over the Irrawaddy Delta [a river in Myanmar] between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. GMT (early afternoon local time). This corresponds to the same time and location reported by the airline and independent data analysis of the flight path from FlightRadar24.

Tropicalthunderstorms like these are typical for this time of year with moisture increasing in the region as the southwest monsoon season is beginning in South Asia. They can form quickly in the early afternoon as the land heats up, especially near the coastline.

Budding thunderstorms like Tuesday's may not appear on radar in their earliest stages, even though the quick rising motion within them can still produce turbulence. The storm cells likely grew from 20,000 to 30,000 feet to well over 50,000 feet in less than an hour.

1:39 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Who was on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321?

From CNN's Lauren Said-Moorhouse

There was a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board the flight traveling from London's Heathrow Airport bound for Singapore's Changi Airport, according to Singapore Airlines.

The journey should have taken around 13 hours. However, it made an emergency landing in Bangkok after experiencing severe turbulence over Myanmar. One passenger – a 73-year-old Briton – died and scores of others were injured.

Singapore Airlines has now provided an update on the nationalities of the passengers traveling on the Boeing 777-300ER. They include:

Correction: The age of the deceased passenger has been amended in this post.

12:36 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Airline flight data show turbulence occurred over Myanmar

From CNN's Ross Levitt

The aviation tracking site FlightRadar24 says, based on its data, that the turbulence on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 occurred over Myanmar at approximately 7:49 a.m. UTC (3:49 a.m. ET).

This lines up witha statement from the airlinestating that the plane, “encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin [a river in Myanmar] at 37,000 feet, about 10 hours after departure.”

FlightRadar24 said ina blog postthat, according to its data, at that time, ”the flight encountered a rapid change in vertical rate, consistent with a sudden turbulence event.”

The data show the flight changing course about 14 minutes later. The airline says, “the pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok.”

The FlightRadar24 data show the flight, which was cruising at 37,000 feet, suddenly dipping then rapidly climbing a few hundred feet before dipping and climbing again and then finally settling back at its cruising altitude. The entire disruption took about 90 seconds, according to the data, but resulted in dozens of injuries, including a fatality.

12:09 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

Number of injured passengers rises to 71, according to hospital

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

The Singapore Airlines flight that experienced severe turbulence while en route to the Southeast Asian nation from London left at least 71 people injured, according to the Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok that received the injured passengers.

The hospital also said six people are severely injured. Earlier,Kittipong Kittikachorn, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in the Thai capital said seven people were critically injured.

Those injured include citizens of Malaysia, the UK, New Zealand, Spain, the US and Ireland.

12:14 p.m. ET, May 21, 2024

At least seven people in critical condition following Singapore Airlines incident, airport official says

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Hamdi Alkhshali

Live updates: Singapore Airlines turbulence incident (1)

At least seven people are critically injured after a Singapore Airlines flight traveling from London to Singapore experienced severe turbulence and was forced to make an emergency landing in Thailand, according to Kittipong Kittikachorn, the general manager of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Earlier, the airport official confirmed a 73-year-old British man had died. Authorities are currently awaiting a medical report on the deceased, Kittikachorn said.

Kittikachorn also told CNN on Tuesday that he was informed about the emergency landing in Bangkok just ten minutes before it touched down.

Kittikachorn, who inspected the aircraft, reported that several passengers were injured, with some sustaining broken arms. The severity of the situation prompted doctors to advise the initiation of an emergency plan to assist all affected passengers.Previously, the airport official said the majority of injuries sustained on board were cuts and bruises.

“It took us one and a half hours to evacuate all passengers,” Kittikachorn stated. The turbulence also caused significant damage inside the plane, with parts of the ceiling and luggage compartments collapsing.

10:53 a.m. ET, May 21, 2024

How air turbulence creates danger in the skies

From CNN's Tamara Hardingham-Gill

Air travel and turbulence have always gone hand in hand with many flights, especially long haul, experiencing spells of bumpiness. Thesevere episode on board a Singapore Airlines planein which one passenger died raises concerns about how risky turbulence can be.

Experts say it is extremely unlikely that most flights will result in injury or damage, but there have been numerous recent incidents in which this has occurred.

Understanding what causes turbulence can help air crew and passengers mitigate its impact.

“Turbulence fatalities on commercial flights are fortunately very rare, but have sadly increased by one today,” Paul Williams, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading in the UK, said in a statement released today.

Read more on how air turbulence can create problems for air travelers here:


How air turbulence creates danger in the skies | CNN

Tamara Hardingham-Gill

10:52 a.m. ET, May 21, 2024

UK embassy in Thailandsends officials to assist British nationals

From CNN's Catherine Nicholls in London

TheBritishEmbassy inThailand said in a post on X on Tuesday that itis sending consular officialsin Bangkokto support British nationals affected by the Singapore Airlines flight.

The embassy previouslysaidthat it was "responding" to the Singapore Airlines flight's emergency landing in the Thai capital and that it was "in contact with the local authorities."

Live updates: Singapore Airlines turbulence incident (2024)
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