Swooping descent, travelers thrown to the ceiling… Passengers tell of “hell”

It was “probably” the “worst day of [sa] life “. Interviewed by the BBC after a “chaotic” Singapore Airlines flight from London, Jerry, 68, was “traumatized”. With his wife and daughter, they were traveling to Australia for his son’s wedding. They decided to turn back, unable to cope with the “next five plane trips” that awaited them.

Like him, 210 passengers and 18 crew members of flight SQ321 experienced “scenes of absolute terror” on Tuesday, eleven hours after taking off. The Boeing 777-300ER, which was preparing to fly over Thailand, had to make an emergency landing in Bangkok due to “extreme turbulence”. On Wednesday, 131 passengers and 12 crew members were finally able to land in Singapore via another flight. A look back at this “horror” journey in which a 73-year-old man died and dozens of people were injured, twenty of whom are in intensive care in hospitals in the Thai capital.

“All hell broke loose”

The plane took off from London’s Heathrow Airport at 10:14 p.m. local time. “It was a completely normal flight” before “all hell broke loose”, summarizes Andrew Davies, another passenger on this flight SQ321 who testified to CNNspecifying that he is used to traveling by plane for his work.

“I was watching a film when the signal to fasten your seat belt came on,” continues the Briton. The Boeing is preparing to fly over Thailand, has just crossed the Andaman Sea, near the Bay of Bengal, and is approximately 11,000 meters above Burma. It is 9:07 a.m. in London, 3:07 p.m. locally, when the craft suddenly loses altitude. He fell suddenly and lost 6,000 feet in three minutes, or more than 1,800 meters, at 900 km/h.

Scenes of “absolute terror”

Then it’s “chaos”. Andrew Davies describes scenes of “absolute terror”. In the cabin, he sees the passengers’ personal belongings flying through the air as well as the meal trays. “Blankets, tablets, shoes,” he told CNN. Images show impressive damage inside the cabin with oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and parts of the apparatus ripped open.

“For a few seconds after the fall, we heard a terrible scream and what sounded like a thud,” he said, thinking they were going to crash. He then observes around him people with lacerations on their heads and bleeding from their ears as well as a woman who was “screaming in agony” and who had a “gash on her head”. Everyone around him was trembling, “traumatized”.

“Projected to the ceiling”

At the Reuteurs press agency, Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student, also on board, said he saw seated people, who were not wearing belts, being “immediately thrown to the ceiling” after the “very spectacular” fall and “very sudden” from the plane. The latter were thrown into the cabin with such violence that their skulls hit the ceiling, causing significant head injuries to dozens of people.

Interviewed by the BBC, Allison Barker said she received a message from her son, who was on the plane: “I don’t want to scare you, but I’m on a crazy flight and the plane is making an emergency landing… I love you all “.

“Injured” staff did “all they could”

Three minutes after the start of its fall, the craft stabilized at 31,000 feet. At 3:35 p.m., the pilots sent a distress call for an emergency landing at Bangkok airport indicating that passengers on board were injured. The descent began at 3:17 p.m. according to Flightradar data and the Boeing 777 landed at 3:45 p.m. on the runway of Suvarnabhumi airport.

Upon their arrival, 71 people were received at the Samitivej Srinakarin hospital in Bangkok, including six seriously injured. This Wednesday, twenty people are still in intensive care in hospitals in the Thai capital, the establishments announced.

According to Singapore Airlines and the airport, around 30 passengers and crew members suffered injuries. A 73-year-old British man has died. He was behind Andrew Davies on the plane.

The witness assures that “all the crew on board, even injured, did everything they could” to help, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation for several minutes. The victim, who suffered from “heart disease”, suffered a heart attack during the fall or in the minutes that followed.

An open investigation

On Wednesday, 131 passengers and 12 crew members were finally able to land in Singapore via another flight. Singapore Airlines “is truly sorry for the traumatic experience” experienced by those on board, said company CEO Goh Choon Phong. “I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased,” he said in a video message on Wednesday.

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