HomeForeignAirline Apologises, As Englishman Who Died In Flight Turbulence Is Identified

Airline Apologises, As Englishman Who Died In Flight Turbulence Is Identified

A British man who died on board a Singapore Airlines flight hit by severe turbulence has been named as Geoff Kitchen.

The 73-year-old suffered a suspected heart attack after the plane encountered a sudden drop in altitude – leading to what passengers have called scenes of “absolute terror”.

The head of Singapore Airlines has apologised for the flight accident.

Goh Choon Phong said the airline was “very sorry for the traumatic experience” for those onboard flight SQ321 from London to Singapore.

The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the Thai capital Bangkok.

Some 79 passengers and six crew members are still in Bangkok – where they are receiving medical treatment for injuries.

A relief flight carrying the remaining passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore early on Wednesday.

Seven other passengers were critically injured, while dozens more suffered minor injuries.

Kitchen was flying on a plane travelling from London to Singapore, with some 211 passengers and 18 crew on board – including 47 people from the UK.

He was described as being “always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity”, a local theatre group he helped to run said.

“It is with a heavy heart that we learn of the devastating news of the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend”, the statement from Thornbury Musical Theatre Group in South Gloucestershire said.

“He has served the group and the local community of Thornbury for over 35 years.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and the family at this difficult time,” it added.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said it was supporting the family of the passenger, and was in contact with local authorities.

About 10 hours into its flight, the plane encountered “sudden extreme turbulence” over Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Basin, according to an airline official.

One passenger said they saw people hit their heads on overhead lockers, leaving dents in them. Another said the aircraft suddenly started “tilting up” and “shaking”.

Briton Andrew Davis said he was left “covered in coffee” after the ordeal. He heard “awful screaming” and saw “things flying through the air”.

Another British man, Jerry, was on the plane as part of a journey to Australia for his son’s wedding. He said the jet “plunged” mid-flight with no warning.

He said both he and his wife hit their heads on the plane’s ceiling, and that people who were walking around “ended up doing somersaults”.

Allison Barker’s son Josh was travelling on the flight. He managed to send her a text saying: “I don’t want to scare you, but I’m on a crazy flight. The plane is making an emergency landing… I love you all.”

After that message, Allison said she waited for a “petrifying” two hours before hearing from him again.

“One minute, he was just sitting down wearing a seatbelt, the next minute, he must have blacked out because he found himself on the floor with other people,” she told the BBC.

She said Josh sustained minor injuries, but she is worried about the experience’s lasting impact on him.

In a video statement on Wednesday, Mr Goh said the airline was “fully cooperating with relevant authorities on the investigations”.

He also expressed his condolences to the family of the victim, adding that they would “render all possible assistance” to affected passengers and crew members.

Mr Goh added that the plane was 10 hours into its journey and flying over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet when it encountered the turbulence.

A 73-year-old Briton, Geoff Kitchen, died of a suspected heart attack during the flight, while several others remain in a critical condition.

Mr Kitchen was believed to be on board the flight with his wife, with the pair headed to Singapore to start a six-week holiday, said media reports.

Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong sent his “deepest condolences” to the family and loved ones of the deceased, adding that Singapore was “working closely with Thai authorities”.

He also said Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau would conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

Accidents involving Singapore Airlines are rare, with the carrier consistently ranking among the world’s safest.

The last fatal accident occurred in 2000, when a Boeing 747 crashed while attempting to take off from the wrong runway at a Taiwan airport.

Some 83 people of the 179 people onboard were killed.


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