More than 20 treated for spinal injuries after turbulence flight

More than 20 people who were on a Singapore Airlines flight hit by severe turbulence are in intensive care with spinal injuries, the head of a Bangkok hospital has said.

A two-year-old child is among those in hospital in the Thai capital, where the flight from London made an emergency landing on Tuesday.

Overall, 46 passengers and two crew members were still receiving treatment in Bangkok, the airline said.

Passengers on the airliner have told the BBC they felt the plane drop suddenly, and that others not wearing their seatbelts "launched immediately into the ceiling".

The director of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital said 41 passengers were still there, half of them in intensive care.

Twenty-two people from the flight had spinal injuries, while six people were in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, Adinun Kittiratanapaibool said.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered severe turbulence on Tuesday, leading to the death of 73-year-old British man Geoff Kitchen, and injuring dozens of others.

It is believed Mr Kitchen died of a heart attack.

Among those now in hospital, there are six skull and brain injuries and 13 muscular and soft tissue conditions, as well as spine and spinal cord injuries.

Seventeen people have undergone operations, of which nine were related to spinal injuries, Dr Adinun said.

The two-year-old was being treated for concussion, he added.

Those being treated include 10 British people, nine Australians, seven Malaysians and four Filipinos. The oldest patient is 83 years old.

Dr Kittiratanapaibool speaks at a news conference
Hospital director Adinun Kittiratanapaibool said the majority of injuries were spinal [Reuters]

The Boeing 777-300, which was carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean on Tuesday.

The flight diverted to the Thai capital.

A relief aircraft carrying the remaining passengers and crew arrived in Singapore early on Wednesday.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong has apologised, offering his “deepest apologies to everyone affected” by the “sudden extreme turbulence”.

Singapore's government has promised a thorough investigation.