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Horror as one dead and 20 more injured after flight ‘plunges 6,000 ft’

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At least one passenger has been killed and 20 more injured on board a Singapore Airlines flight from .

Chaos unfolded on Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 when turbulence caused it to plunge “6,000ft” and then divert to Bangkok in Thailand.

The Boeing 777-300ER departed Heathrow on Monday at 10.38pm. About one hour and 30 minutes from Singapore Changi Airport, the crew declared an emergency.

The plane, registered as 9V-SWM, subsequently landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where it made an emergency landing at around 4pm local time.

First pictures inside the cabin show food and drink strewn over the cabin floor, with what appears to be a person under a blanket in the corner.

A terrified passenger described the moment the chaos unfolded. Dzafran Azmir, 28, told Reuters: “Suddenly the aircraft starts tilting up and there was shaking, so I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop so everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling.

“Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it.”

Upon landing, the plane was attended to by waiting ambulances to treat the passengers. Originally, the aircraft had been scheduled to touch down at Singapore’s Changi Airport at around 6.10pm.

In Bangkok, pictures and video from local media show more than 10 ambulances at the scene, with emergency crews and airport staff stationed nearby.

In a statement on Facebook, Singapore Airlines confirmed both that the plane and had been divered and that one of the passengers had died.

A spokesman said: “Singapore Airlines flight #SQ321, operating from London (Heathrow) to Singapore on May 20, encountered severe turbulence en route. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok and landed at 3.45pm local time on May 21.

“We can confirm that there are injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing 777-300ER. There were a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew on board.”

Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft.

“We are working with the local authorities in Thailand to provide the necessary medical assistance, and sending a team to Bangkok to provide any additional assistance needed.”

What causes turbulence?

Turbulence can be caused by a range of factors from obstacles on the ground like mountains or buildings sending air upwards to the jet streams of other aircraft and nearby storms. Furthermore, it can also be caused by warm air rising and meeting with colder air higher up.

How intense the turbulence is will depend on the conditions that have created it and vary from flight to flight. In some cases, it will barely be noticeable, but in others, it can feel as if the aircraft is moving significantly.

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