A Singapore Airlines flight hit turbulence that was so severe a person died

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Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor (Getty Images)

A Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore ended in tragedy and was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after severe turbulence left one person dead and more than 30 others injured. The BBC reports the plane dropped about 6,000 feet in only a couple of minutes, sending the Boeing 777-300ER into chaos.

“So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop so everyone seated and not wearing [a] seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling,” passenger Dzafran Azmir told the BBC. “Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it.”

According to the airline, 31 passengers were taken to the hospital, while other injuries among the 211 passengers and 18 crew members were treated at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Singapore Airlines also said it would send a team to Bangkok to help as needed. Singapore’s Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat also pledged to assist passengers and their families as they deal with medical treatment and changes to their travel plans.

“Injuries from severe turbulence are relatively rare in the context of millions of flights operated. However, severe turbulence can be dramatic and lead to severe injuries or sadly in this case a fatality,” John Strickland, an aviation expert, told the BBC, later adding, “It is not for nothing that airlines recommend keeping seat belts loosely fastened throughout a flight be it long or short.”

While air travel is still incredibly safe, Strickland makes a great point. Just wear your damn seat belt even if the seatbelt sign is off, indicating that it is safe to get up and move around the cabin. It might not be as comfortable, but it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable than getting launched into the ceiling if your flight hits unexpected turbulence. And unfortunately, as we’ve seen here, we’re not just talking about the risk of getting a little banged up. Not wearing your seatbelt on a flight can literally be a matter of life and death.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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