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Singapore Airlines chief issues video apology for passengers’ ‘traumatic experience’ on deadly flight

Simon Calder’s Travel

Singapore Airlines’ chief executive has issued a video apology to the passengers on board Tuesday’s flight battered by deadly turbulence over the Indian Ocean.

One British passenger died and dozens more were injured when Flight SQ321 encountered severe turbulence en route from London Heathrow to Singapore, sending passengers crashing out of their seats into the light fittings and overhead lockers above.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok and seven of the 30 people wounded remain in hospital there in a serious condition, Bangkok airport’s general manager told a news conference on Wednesday. Passengers who were not injured have now reached Singapore on a relief flight.

“We are very sorry for the traumatic experience that everyone on board SQ321 went through,” Goh Choon Phong said in a video shared on social media by the airline.

Mr Phong offered his condolences to the family of the British passenger who died on the flight, now identified as 73-year-old Geoffrey Kitchen. Mr Kitchen had been travelling with his wife for a planned tour of Asia, described by a member of the family as their “last big holiday” together.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident,” Mr Phong. “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.”

In a two-minute-49-second video posted on Singapore Airlines page, he assured that they are working to provide all possible assistance to their passengers and crew members.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, which was headed to Singapore from London before making an emergency landing in Bangkok due to severe turbulence, is seen on the tarmac at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on 22 May 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

A relief flight with 143 passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore around 5am this morning, Mr Phong said, adding that 79 passengers and six crew member remain in Bangkok and are receiving medical care.

According to the airline, Flight SQ321 was carrying 47 British nationals, 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one Icelander, four Irish, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 New Zealanders, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards and…

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