Singapore Airlines Flight Hit by Severe Turbulence, Passenger Killed

( – A Singapore Airlines flight experienced extreme turbulence that led to a passenger’s death and injuries to dozens of other travelers, according to the airline’s reports.

The Boeing 777-300ER jet had to make an emergency landing in Bangkok following the turbulence on May 21. The flight had 211 passengers and 18 crew onboard and was heading from London to Singapore. At 37,000 feet the severe turbulence was encountered over Burma, forcing the plane to divert to Thailand. Singapore Airlines released a statement offering its condolences to the family of the deceased and apologizing for the traumatic ordeal suffered by passengers and crew members onboard the flight.

The man who died was named Geoffrey Kitchen, a 73-year-old British grandfather and father-of-two. Kitchen’s daughter, Anna Proctor, paid tribute to him, saying in a Facebook post that he was on the “trip of a lifetime” taking one last big vacation with his wife when he died. Kitchen is believed to have suffered a fatal heart attack following the turbulence.

Four Americans were also onboard the flight, and the number injured in the incident later rose to over 70, before Bangkok’s Hospital gave an update the following day to say that 104 people received treatment for injuries, 58 of whom were still in the hospital. The statement added that 20 of those injured were in intensive care for severe injuries. The turbulence was encountered when the aircraft hit an air pocket, which resulted in it plummeting 6,000 feet in only five minutes.

The incident follows a string of safety concerns and controversies affecting Boeing. Sam Salehpour, a quality inspector turned whistleblower, has raised concerns about the company’s 777 and 787 jets. Salehpour claimed that he saw engineers jumping up and down on panels to make them fit. The manufacturer’s 737, 767, 777 and 787 production lines have all led to similar issues being raised. Following the sudden deaths of two other whistleblowers, Salehpour admitted he was “scared” as he continued to highlight the company’s poor safety record.

Singapore’s prime minister has promised a thorough investigation following the incident. Kitchen was described as a “remarkable man” by a friend. He was a member of a Thornbury Musical Theater Group, whose members described him as a man of “utmost integrity” who was always a gentleman.

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