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Singapore Airlines SQ321 cruising at 37,000 ft falls to 31,000 ft in 3 mins: What went wrong?

The Singapore Airlines flight was cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet. Just after 0800 GMT, the Boeing 777 suddenly and sharply pitched down to 31,000 feet over the span of some three minutes, the data shows.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: May 21, 2024 23:53 IST
Singapore Airlines

The ill-fated Singapore Airlines had taken off from London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday Singapore with 211 passengers and 18 crew on board. But, unfortunately, when the aircraft landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok, a person died and at least 30 were injured. At the airport, a queue of ambulances was already there to assist the injured passengers. The Boeing 777-300ER, with a total of 211 passengers and 18 crew members on board, landed in Bangkok at 3:45 p.m. (0845 GMT), the airline said in a Facebook post.

What went wrong with Singapore Airlines flight SQ321?

According to the statement released by the airline, multiple turbulences hit the aircraft when it was cruising at zenith. According to flight data collected by FlightRadar24, the Singapore Airlines flight maintained a steady altitude of 37,000 feet. However, shortly after 0800 GMT, the Boeing 777 swiftly and dramatically descended to 31,000 feet within approximately three minutes.

The plane remained at an altitude of 31,000 feet for slightly less than 10 minutes before swiftly descending and touching down in Bangkok in less than thirty minutes. This descent occurred while the flight was traversing the Andaman Sea en route to Myanmar.


What is turbulence?

Most people associate turbulence with heavy storms, but the most dangerous type is so-called clear air turbulence. Wind shear can occur in wispy cirrus clouds or even in clear air near thunderstorms, as differences in temperature and pressure create powerful currents of fast-moving air.

The problem of turbulence was highlighted in December when a total of 41 people on two separate flights hit by turbulence in the United States were hurt or received medical treatment on two consecutive days.

According to a 2021 report by the US National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence accounted for 37.6% of all accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018. The Federal Aviation Administration, another US government agency, said after the December incidents that there were 146 serious injuries from turbulence from 2009 to 2021.

At least 83 passengers were killed in 2000

It is worth mentioning that the last Singapore Airlines fatalities were in October 2000 when a plane crashed on a closed runway during takeoff in Taiwan and 83 people died. Singapore Airlines has had 7 accidents according to records by the Aviation Safety Network.

Thai immigration police said that medical personnel have boarded the plane to assess injuries, but cannot confirm the number and some uninjured passengers were deplaned.

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Singapore Airlines horror: Shocking videos, photos of air turbulence surface I WATCH


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