22 passengers and crew injured after SIA flight to Mumbai hit by major turbulence

Eight passengers and 14 crew were injured when an SIA plane bound for Mumbai, India, met with serious turbulence. -- PHOTO: ST READER
Eight passengers and 14 crew were injured when an SIA plane bound for Mumbai, India, met with serious turbulence. -- PHOTO: ST READER
Major turbulence that hit a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Singapore to Mumbai on Saturday night left eight passengers and 14 crew injured. -- PHOTO: AFP
Major turbulence that hit a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Singapore to Mumbai on Saturday night left eight passengers and 14 crew injured. -- PHOTO: AFP

It was a rough weekend for Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its regional arm SilkAir, with separate incidents that left passengers and crew injured, and flights delayed.

The most serious incident was on Saturday night, when eight passengers and 14 crew members were hurt on board SIA Flight 424 to Mumbai, India.

The Airbus 380 superjumbo jet, which had 408 passengers and 25 crew members, encountered serious turbulence during its descent.

Confirming the incident, an SIA spokesman told The Straits Times that all eight injured passengers and 10 crew members were taken to hospital.

All but two of the passengers have been discharged, he said, without elaborating on the nature and seriousness of their injuries.

He said: "Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers and crew. Singapore Airlines will provide full assistance to the authorities in their investigations."

A day after the Mumbai incident, five SilkAir flights were held back at Changi Airport yesterday because of aircraft trouble.

The delays of between an hour and more than 11 hours affected about 600 passengers who were heading to Kuala Lumpur, Yogyakarta in Indonesia, Yangon in Myanmar, Chiang Mai in Thailand and Cebu in the Philippines.

The Cebu flight, which was forced to turn back after the aircraft had already started taxi-ing, was the worst hit. Instead of 9am, it departed only after 8pm.

A SilkAir spokesman said the delays were due to unrelated technical issues faced by three of its aircraft which were to be used for the five regional flights.

The problems were enginerelated and have since been rectified.

She said: "We carry out daily checks on our aircraft, both by our engineers and by the system.

"SilkAir apologises to all its affected passengers for the inconvenience caused and would like to emphasise that safety is our utmost priority."

The airline has 26 single-aisle planes, comprising 20 Airbus aircraft and six Boeing 737-800s.

The last reported case of serious turbulence on an SIA flight was in May last year, when 12 London-bound passengers were injured about two hours into the flight.

karam@sph.com.sg