Several members of British Airways cabin crew were reportedly seriously injured during a flight from Singapore to London on Thursday night after the Boeing 777-300 aircraft they were working on suddenly plummeted 1,000 feet over the Bay of Bengal in a rare ‘severe turbulence’ event.
Three crew members are said to have been injured and had to be transported to the hospital after the nine-year-old aircraft was rocked by clear air turbulence just a couple of hours into the 14-hour flight to London.
One crew member reportedly suffered a possible broken leg, another suffered a serious head injury, and the third reportedly suffered a broken femur after they were flung into the air.
Passengers onboard the aircraft said they had already been ordered to buckle in before the severe turbulence struck, but the cabin crew were still collecting in trays from the first meal service and didn’t have time to sit down and strap in.
Witnesses have praised the actions of the crew members, as well as a doctor who was onboard and who “rushed to the aid” of the injured cabin crew.
British Airways flight BA12 departed from Singapore at around 11:30 pm on Thursday night but quickly diverted back to Singapore Changi Airport around two hours into the flight.
The aircraft was met by emergency responders, and the aircraft has since been grounded. As of Saturday, the plane is still on the ground in Singapore, while passengers onboard the plane have been rebooked onto alternative services to get home.
In a statement, a British Airways spokesperson told us: “Safety is always our priority, and we’re looking after our crew after one of our flights experienced a rare episode of severe turbulence.”
“Our highly trained team on board reassured customers, and the aircraft returned to Singapore as a precaution,” the statement continued.
“We’ve apologised to customers for the delay to their flight and provided them with hotel accommodation and information on their consumer rights. We’re rebooking customers onto the next available flights with us and other airlines.”
British Airways told us that it advises passengers to always wear their seatbelts, even when the seatbelt signs are switched off, just in case turbulence suddenly strikes.
In some cases, pilots can predict the risk of turbulence but ‘clear air’ turbulence can strike without warning. Amongst cabin crew, leg and head injuries are very common in a turbulence incident.
A source said crew managers were supporting the injured aircrew before they are flown back to London.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.