Singapore Airlines tightens rules on seat belt use after flight death due to turbulence | Air Transport

Singapore Airlines tightens rules on seat belt use after flight death due to turbulence |  Air Transport

Singapore Airlines has tightened seat belt rules on its flights after one passenger was killed and more than 100 injured when one of its planes hit severe turbulence.

Passengers and crew aboard Flight SQ321 suffered skull, brain and spinal injuries when they were violently thrown across the cabin during Tuesday’s high-altitude ordeal. Some passengers said the turbulence occurred so quickly that there was no time to fasten their seat belts.

The flight from London to Singapore carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok, where at least 48 people are still being treated in hospital.

In response, Singapore Airlines said it had introduced a “more cautious approach” to the turbulence.

“In addition to the suspension of hot beverage service when the seat belt sign is on, food service will also be suspended,” the airline said in a statement to AFP. “SIA will continue to review our processes as the safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance.”

Singapore Airlines flight route

Investigators from Singapore and the United States traveled to Thailand to investigate the causes of Tuesday’s incident.

Air safety experts told AFP that passengers are often too casual about wearing seat belts, putting them at risk if the plane hits unexpected turbulence. Scientists also claim that so-called clear air turbulence, invisible to radar, is getting worse due to the climate crisis.

The director of Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin hospital, where most of the injured were taken, said his staff had never before treated such serious injuries caused by turbulence.

Keith Davis, an Australian passenger, described the ordeal that left his wife, Kerry, with a serious spinal injury and no feeling below the waist.

“It was absolute carnage, instantly. It was absolutely surreal. You know, there’s no warning,” she told Australian broadcaster Channel 9. “Before we knew it we were on the roof. And then bang, we’re on the ground. And you don’t know what’s happening.”

Davis said his wife hit the doors of the overhead luggage lockers before falling to the aisle floor and was unable to move for the rest of the flight.

The interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 after its emergency landing in Bangkok. Photograph: obtained by Reuters/Reuters

Upon landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, the plane was met by rescuers who used stretchers to transport injured passengers to waiting ambulances.

Photos taken inside the plane after landing in Bangkok show the cabin in chaos, filled with food, drinks and luggage, and with oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong apologized for the “traumatic experience” and expressed his condolences to the family of Geoffrey Kitchen, 73, the Briton who died.