'Passengers hit their heads, denting overhead bins': Malaysian recounts harrowing experience aboard turbulence-hit jetliner [NSTTV]

THERE was little warning of the chaos that was about to be unleashed onboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ321.

With around three hours left on the journey from London to Singapore, Malaysian student Dzafran Azmir got the uneasy feeling the Boeing 777-300R was pitching upwards and beginning to shake.

The 28-year-old braced himself and checked he had his seatbelt on. He did. Many of the other passengers did not, he said.

"Suddenly, there was a very dramatic drop, so everyone seated and not wearing seatbelts was launched immediately into the ceiling. Some people hit their heads on the luggage bins overhead and dented them, they hit the Passenger Service Units (where the reading lights and emergency oxygen masks are) and broke straight through them," Dzafran told Reuters.

"People dropped to the floor, my phone flew out of my hand and went a couple of aisles to the side, people's shoes flung about," he added.

One passenger was killed and 30 others injured after the flight from London fell into an air pocket before encountering turbulence en route on Tuesday, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Bangkok, officials and the airline said.

"The crew and people inside the lavatories were hurt the most... People just lay on the cabin floor, not able to get up. There were a lot of spinal and head injuries," Dzafran said.

The captain informed passengers that they would be making an emergency landing in Thailand's capital, Bangkok.

Once the plane was on the tarmac, nurses and rescue workers came in to check on the injured, Dzafran said.

"I don't think they anticipated how bad it was," he said.

Ambulances later arrived and Dzafran said he saw at least eight people on stretchers being pulled out of the emergency exits. It took 90 minutes to evacuate the plane, he said. — Reuters

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