KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Amelia Lim, 43, remembered that the cabin lights of the Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 from London were just turned on for breakfast service when it suddenly hit severe turbulence.

The Malaysian who was bound for Singapore recalled that she could only hold onto her seat rails for dear life as she felt the aeroplane tilting back. When it subsided, she said the scene of the turmoil looked like “something out of the movie”.

“It was certainly harrowing. Something you have seen in a movie but did not expect. I was so afraid and because I could see so many individuals on the floor, they were all bleeding. There was blood on the floor as well as on the people.

“I would say it is fairly traumatising to some extent,” the public relations executive told Malay Mail in a phone interview last night.


Lim said the flight had been uneventful for the most part, but due to the sudden turbulence, many including her could not fasten their seatbelts in time despite the announcement from the pilot.

She said the turbulence, which lasted less than a minute, felt much longer and caused chaos within the cabin as passengers were flung about, and loose items became dangerous projectiles.

“There was a lot of movement, with things being thrown up into the air and coming back down. The next thing I knew, I found myself on the floor, face-planted. When I got up, I had to regain my bearings.


“The woman who had been seated next to me was now motionless in the aisle and unable to move, likely suffering from a hip or spinal injury. I didn't know her, but when people asked if she could wiggle her toes or feel her legs, she could not respond. Her husband, who was seated next to her, had also hit the ceiling during the turbulence and was bleeding profusely from his head,” she recalled.

The SIA SQ321 flight with 211 passengers and 18 crew members was travelling from London to Singapore when it encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately 10 hours after departure.

The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to Bangkok, landing at 3.45pm local time last Tuesday.

Lim also shared that despite the crew's best efforts, a passenger in the premium economy section suffered a heart attack.

She said the medical personnel onboard, including doctors and nurses, sprang into action, attempting CPR for nearly 20 minutes to no avail and he died at the scene.

“I think they called for doctors, and luckily, there were doctors on the plane, a lot of medical personnel and nurses. They tried to give him CPR for, I think, about 20 minutes, and it didn't work,” she said.

“I bumped my head in a few areas. I think I do have probably a mild concussion. My face is quite scratched up from getting thrown away from the seat. So half my face looks like I have got a boxer's face,” she said.

Lim then said she applauded the actions of the flight attendants for remaining calm and offering help despite some of the crew members who were also injured themselves.

“There was a female sitting diagonally one foot away from me, and she was in pain because she kept saying, 'My back, my back' and she appeared to be strapped down. I couldn't tell, but she was obviously in a lot of agony.

“So they were all attempting to calm everyone down until we arrived in Bangkok, where the Thai reaction team was already on-site,” she said.

The incident caused one death and multiple injuries. Suvarnabhumi Airport director Kittipong Kittikachorn yesterday said the only fatality in the incident was a 73-year-old British man.

Singapore Airlines said 16 Malaysians were among the 211 passengers aboard the flight.

Yesterday, Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel three of the Malaysian passengers were currently warded in the Intensive Care unit, but none are in critical condition.