British passenger, 73, dies and others 'seriously injured' after extreme turbulence hits UK flight

The person who died on board a flight from London to Singapore after the aircraft encountered "severe turbulence" has been confirmed as a British passenger.

A spokesman for Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where the flight was diverted to after being forced to make an emergency landing while travelling from Heathrow Airport to Singapore, said the 73-year-old man suffered a suspected heart attack. Seven other people have also been seriously injured in the incident, the spokesman added.

Further details about the British passenger, including his name and which area of the UK he was from, are yet to be confirmed. The Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 had 211 passengers and 18 crew members on board, and landed in Bangkok at 3.45pm local time on Tuesday, having initially been scheduled to land at Singapore Changi Airport.

Tracking data published by FlightRadar24 showed the plane was cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar shortly after 9am BST, when it sharply dropped by 6,000 feet. One of the passengers on board Flight SQ321 to Singapore said the plane suffered a "dramatic drop", meaning people not wearing a seatbelt were "launched immediately into the ceiling", the PA news agency reports.

The airspace in the region is currently experiencing extreme tropical thunderstorms. Images posted on social media showed damage to the ceiling of the cabin, and food, cutlery and other debris strewn on the floor in the aftermath of the incident, while ambulances were pictured waiting on the tarmac at the Bangkok airport as the flight came in to land.

Singapore Airlines said in a statement: "Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, operating from London Heathrow to Singapore on 20 May, encountered severe turbulence en-route. We can confirm that there are injuries and one fatality on board."

The airline went on: "Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft.

"We are working with the local authorities in Thailand to provide the necessary medical assistance and sending a team to Bangkok to provide any additional assistance needed."