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June 14, 2024
Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, flying from London Heathrow to Singapore Changi, experienced severe turbulence that resulted in a drop of 6,000 feet in three minutes.  Flight Aware tracked the flight from London to the emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand, where the injured were taken to local hospitals for treatment.  One passenger was fatally injured, and around 30 were injured on the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft—our condolences to the families of those impacted by this incident.

Severe turbulence is rare, but can happen in stormy weather, and typically an aircraft like the Boeing 777-300ER can fly above all but the most severe storms.  Equipped with weather radar, flight crews typically fly around severe storm cells whenever possible. Still, occasionally, fronts that cover long distances that would be too distant to circumvent require encountering severe weather.  

Aircraft are typically quite capable of surviving turbulence, even severe turbulence, as was shown by the integrity of the aircraft and the safe landing in Bangkok. The Boeing 777 is one of the safest wide-body models in service and has a strong track record for safe operations. This is an unusual situation, and typically, the injured in these situations are passengers who have not tightly fastened their seat belts. 

While a 2,000-foot-per-minute descent is extreme, it is not beyond the capabilities of the airplane, which exited the turbulence and landed intact. The structural integrity of today’s aircraft is well-designed to withstand extreme conditions, and the 777-300ER is a safe airplane that no one should avoid.

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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