Singapore Airlines Offers $10,000 To Passengers Hurt By Turbulence

Singapore Airlines (SIA) said Tuesday that it has provided $10,000 in compensation to passengers who had mild injuries on a flight affected by significant turbulence last month and will consider greater reimbursements with others who were more severely injured.

A 73-year-old British man died, while numerous other passengers and staff on flight SQ321 from London sustained skull, brain, and spinal injuries during the harrowing high-altitude journey.

The pilots redirected the Singapore-bound Boeing 777-300ER, which carried 211 passengers and 18 crew, to Bangkok, where the injured were sent to hospitals.

In a statement issued Tuesday, SIA stated that it has sent out emails offering US$10,000 in compensation to passengers who incurred minor injuries during the event.

“For those who sustained more serious injuries… we have invited them to discuss a compensation offer to meet each of their specific circumstances when they feel well and ready to do so,” the airline said.

“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 to address their immediate needs.

“This will be part of the final compensation that these passengers will receive.”

In addition, the carrier said it would refund the airfares of all passengers on the flight, including those who were not injured.

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

As of Tuesday afternoon, 11 passengers from the flight were still receiving treatment in hospitals in Bangkok, a SIA spokesperson told AFP.

Under the Montreal Convention, airlines are liable for damages for the injury or death of passengers while on an airplane.

“The compensation amounts are determined by the severity of each passenger’s injuries, based on the information provided thus far by the respective medical institutions,” the spokesperson said.

“We recognise that passengers with more serious injuries may require further support tailored to their individual circumstances.”

SIA previously provided Sg$1,000 ($740) to each passenger leaving Bangkok for their final destination to cover their immediate expenses.

It has also covered the injured passengers’ medical fees and arranged for their family members to fly to Bangkok if needed.

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

According to Singapore’s transport ministry, unbelted passengers on the flight were violently propelled into the cabin after an abrupt 54-metre (177-foot) drop in altitude.

The aircraft suffered a “rapid change” in gravitational force, or G-force, while passing over southern Myanmar, according to the ministry, citing a preliminary investigation from Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau.

The investigating team consisted of professionals from the TSIB, the US National Transportation Safety Board, the US Federal Aviation Administration, and the plane’s manufacturer, Boeing.

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