Singapore Airlines offers compensation to turbulence victims

Singapore Airlines is offering compensation to victims of the turbulence incident which left a 73-year-old man dead in May.

The plane dropped 54 metres in just four seconds, an investigation found.

Singapore Airlines said it "deeply apologises" to passengers of "the traumatic experience" on board flight SQ321 on May 20.

"SIA can confirm that we have sent out the offers of compensation to the passengers on 10 June 2024," a Facebook post by the company said.

Geoffrey Ralph Kitchen, a theatre director from south Gloucestershire, died in the incident, while seven other British people were critically injured.

Geoffrey Kitchen died of a suspected heart attack during the incident.

Passengers who sustained "minor injuries from the incident" have been offered $10,000 (£7,800), while those who sustained "more serious injuries" have been invited "to discuss a compensation offer to meet each of their specific circumstances when they feel well and ready to do so".

As of June 4, 20 passengers injured in the incident were still receiving treatment in hospitals in Bangkok.

"Passengers medically assessed as having sustained serious injuries, requiring long-term medical care, and requesting financial assistance are offered an advance payment of US$25,000 (£19,600) to address their immediate needs. This will be part of the final compensation that these passengers will receive."

Each passenger will also receive a full refund of the air fare, including those who weren't injured as a result of the turbulence.

Singapore Airlines will also offer delay compensation in line with the relevant European Union or UK regulations.

The company said it had also provided passengers with 1,000 Singapore dollars (£580) to cover their immediate expenses on arriving in Bangkok, as well as covering medical bills and arranging for loved ones to travel to Thailand.

Emergency vehicles met the plane upon its arrival to Bangkok. Credit: AP

No details were given as to compensation for the family of Mr Kitchen.

Flight SQ321 was travelling to Singapore from London Heathrow when it began to experience slight turbulence as it flew over a stormy area above Myanmar at 8:49am UK time on 21 May, a report by The Transport Safety Investigation Bureau of Singapore said last month.

Credit: PA

As this slight turbulence set in about 10 hours after departure, the plane experienced a rise in altitude by around 110 metres. At this point, the pilot announced the fasten seatbelt sign had been turned on.

Just eight seconds later, a rapid change in gravitational force caused an altitude drop of around 54 metres.

The pilots disengaged autopilot, stabilised the aircraft and then re-engaged the autopilot. The plane then diverted to Thailand, where passengers received medical treatment.

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