New theory emerges over Singapore flight

A new “thunderstorm” theory has emerged in a bid to understand how a daily flight from London to Singapore led to the death of one man and the injury of dozens of passengers.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok on May 20 following an “altitude drop” that saw dozens of passengers hurled into cabin space.

The video shows the interior of the flight to Singapore destroyed by horror turbulence

Singapore Airlines has since attributed the crash to “extreme turbulence”, however, a team of experts, representing dozens of passengers in a class action lawsuit for compensation, believes the plane flew into a thunderstorm.

The team found that the flight had come “in close proximity” to a thunderstorm as it passed over an area known for thunderstorm activity in the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

Peter Carter, director of Carter Capner which launched the class action, said the theory would dispel the idea that the incident was a “freak accident”.

“It was avoidable,” he told news.com.au.

“It is wrong to reach a provisional conclusion. The underlying theory should really be that it was a storm, unless proven otherwise, and that created an increased fear of the flying experience, which is misplaced.”

Ron Bartsch, Qantas’ former head of safety and president of Avlaw Aviation Consulting, also said the idea that the crash was a “freak accident” was misplaced.

Mr Bartsch told news.com.au the fact the pilot-in-command had put on his seatbelt before the crash indicated there must have been something on the radar.

“To me, that suggests this was something that was visible on radar. There must have been some indication that something was going on,” she said.

He said that under normal circumstances, experienced pilots would avoid the area altogether or slow the plane to avoid injuries inside the cabin.

Deadly witness to Singapore Airlines flight speaks of horrific aftermath

In a statement to news.com.au, Singapore Airlines said it was “unable” to comment on the views of “other lawyers”.

“Singapore Airlines is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities in the investigation of this incident,” the statement said.

Compensation for passengers

Nearly 60 Australians were on board the Boeing 777-300ER when the crash occurred, and this week the 211 passengers on the flight were offered thousands of dollars in compensation.

The airline announced it had offered $10,000 (S$15,130) compensation to those who suffered minor injuries during the “traumatic” event.

Those with serious injuries will receive $20,000.

“Singapore Airlines (SIA) deeply apologizes to all passengers for the traumatic experience on board Flight SQ321 on 20 May 2024. We are committed to providing our full support and assistance during this period,” the airline said in a Note.

“For those who have suffered more serious injuries… we have invited them to discuss an offer of compensation to suit each of their specific circumstances when they feel well and ready to do so,” the statement continues.

The airline said it will also provide a full refund to all passengers on the flight, including those who were not injured.

“All passengers will also receive compensation for the delay in accordance with relevant European Union or UK regulations,” it said.

“We have provided all passengers with S$1,000 each to cover immediate expenses upon departure from Bangkok.”

The airline said it covered the injured passengers’ medical expenses and arranged to fly their family members to Bangkok when requested.

“SIA remains committed to supporting the affected passengers who were on board SQ321,” the airline said.

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