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Singapore Airline revises seatbelt rules following London flight turbulence

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Singapore Airlines Ltd. has revised its cabin-service rules following a turbulent flight from London that resulted in one fatality and numerous injuries, reported Bloomberg.

On Tuesday, Flight SQ321 encountered severe turbulence, causing the plane to lose altitude and necessitating an emergency landing in Bangkok. As a result, one passenger died, and many others remain hospitalised in Thailand with serious injuries, including spinal-cord damage and head trauma.

In response, the airline announced on Friday a “more cautious approach” to managing turbulence. As per the Bloomberg report, when the seatbelt sign is activated, in-flight meal service will be suspended, and the serving of hot drinks will cease. Additionally, crew members will secure themselves in their seats.

Singapore Airlines emphasised its commitment to safety, stating, “We will continue to review our processes to prioritise the safety of crew and passengers.”

The new measures do not mandate that all passengers wear seatbelts for the entire flight, although airlines typically recommend it. Passengers are usually required to buckle up during turbulent weather.

Singapore Airlines noted that its pilots and cabin crew are trained to handle turbulence and secure loose items to minimise injury risks.Passengers injured
Twenty-two passengers from a Singapore Airlines flight that was hit by turbulence May 21, have spinal cord injuries and six have brain and skull injuries, according to media reports. Twenty people remained in intensive care, although none were life-threatening cases, reported The Straits Times, citing Dr Adinun Kittiratanapaibool, director of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital.The oldest patient at the hospital is 83, while the youngest is a two-year-old child who suffered a concussion.

He added that there were 40 patients from Flight SQ321 at the hospital. The London to Singapore flight made an emergency landing in Bangkok.

Nearly 60 passengers were injured after the flight on May 21 encountered “sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at 37,000 feet about 10 hours after departure”.

Forty-six passengers and two crew members aboard the SIA flight remain in the Thai capital for medical treatment.

Sixty-five passengers and two crew members were still in Bangkok, said SIA in a Facebook post at 9.31pm on May 23.

The pilot diverted the Boeing 777-300ER carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3.45pm (4.45pm Singapore time), making an emergency landing.

Flight SQ321, which was heading to Singapore from London, experienced sudden extreme turbulence on May 21. Briton Geoffrey Kitchen, 73, died during the turbulence, reportedly due to a heart attack.

It added that SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong has been “meeting the affected passengers, crew, their family members and loved ones in Bangkok today to personally offer his support and to understand their concerns”.

Singapore Airlines has been in contact with all the passengers and crew members who are still in Bangkok. Customer Care Representatives, who are staff volunteers trained for such situations, have been assigned to provide updates and the necessary support and assistance to each passenger during this difficult time.

(With inputs from agencies)

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