$10,000 compensation to passengers hurt during turbulence, says Singapore Airlines

Passengers said the airline crew and those not strapped in slammed into the cabin ceiling, cracking it in places

By Reuters

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 8:56 AM

Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday, June 11, it has offered $10,000 compensation to passengers who suffered minor injuries on a flight hit by violent turbulence last month and will discuss higher payouts with those more badly hurt.

A 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack and several other passengers and crew onboard flight SQ321 from London suffered skull, brain and spine injuries during the sudden, extreme turbulence while flying over Myanmar.

The pilots diverted the Singapore-bound Boeing 777-300ER carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew to Bangkok, where the injured were taken to hospitals.

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"Passengers medically assessed as having sustained serious injuries, requiring long-term medical care, and requesting financial assistance are offered an advance payment of $25,000 to address their immediate needs," the airline added.

Passengers said crew and those not strapped in left the floor or their seats and slammed into the cabin ceiling, cracking it in places. A Bangkok hospital treating passengers said there were spinal cord, brain and skull injuries.

As of June 4, more than two weeks after the May 20 flight, 20 passengers were still receiving medical care in hospitals in Bangkok, according to the airline. It did not respond immediately to a request for an updated figure.

Singapore Airlines said it would refund airfares for all passengers on board the flight and they would receive delay compensation in accordance with regulations in the European Union or Britain.

A preliminary report by Singapore's Transport Ministry said a rapid change in gravitational force and a 54-metre (177-foot) altitude drop likely caused passengers and crew to become airborne.

It said the plane was likely flying over an area of "developing convective activity", a term referring to developing bad weather.

There were 211 passengers, including many Australians, British and Singaporeans, and 18 crew members on the flight.

The incident has put seatbelt practices in the spotlight, with airlines typically allowing passengers to undo belts during normal cruise conditions, while recommending they keep them on.


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