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5 Filipinos among passengers of Singapore Airlines flight hit by severe turbulence

Five Filipinos were among the passengers of a Singapore Airlines flight from London that hit severe turbulence, GTV's State of the Nation reported on Tuesday night.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) also confirmed that there were five Filipinos onboard the Singapore Airlines flight SQ-321, but their conditions have yet to be determined.

“The DMW’s Migrant Workers Office in Singapore (MWO-SG) is working closely with the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport authorities, and airline officials to determine the five Filipino passengers' status and condition,” the agency said.

Expressing concern for the safety and status of the five Filipinos, the DMW said that the MWO-SG would continue monitoring their situation and would update the DMW’s head office “as soon as possible.”

One passenger died while 30 others were hurt in the incident. Seven were critical due to head injuries. 

"Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologize for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight," the airline said.

GMA News Online has also reached out to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to get more details about the status of the five Filipinos.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega said that he is still checking the reports.

The London-to-Singapore flight carrying over 200 passengers and 18 crew members hit heavy turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet (around 1,800 meters) in about three minutes, before making an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand.

Singapore Airlines did not say what type of turbulence was involved, but aviation experts suspect it to be clear-air turbulence (CAT), considered to be the most dangerous type of turbulence.

Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is virtually undetectable with current technology, meaning it can hit without warning — making it all the more important for passengers on a plane to wear seatbelts whenever seated, safety experts said.

The fatality was a 73-year-old British man who is believed to have suffered from heart attack. Eighteen people have been hospitalized.

Turbulence-related airline accidents are the most common type, according to a 2021 study by the National Transportation Safety Board.

From 2009 through 2018, the US agency found that turbulence accounted for more than a third of reported airline accidents and most resulted in one or more serious injuries, but no aircraft damage.

Singapore Airlines, which is widely recognized as one of world's leading airlines and is a benchmark for much of the industry, has not had any major incidents in recent years. — with Giselle Ombay/Reuters/KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News