SQ321: Family struggles with aftermath of severe turbulence

Saw Rong, who is two months pregnant, has been unable to sleep due to pain.

28 May 2024 09:04am
Flight SQ321, with 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was travelling from London to Singapore when it encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately 10 hours after departure. - AFP FILE PIX
Flight SQ321, with 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was travelling from London to Singapore when it encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately 10 hours after departure. - AFP FILE PIX
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BANGKOK - Forty-seven-year-old Eva Khoo, who is a Malaysian national and an event specialist from Penang, expressed that her family members are still suffering and experiencing sleepless nights after her brother and other relatives were on Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ321, which had to make an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport last Tuesday due to severe turbulence.

Eva said her brother Khoo Boo Leong, 38, and his wife's family, who were on a 10-day group tour in Europe, extended their trip in London before flying back to Malaysia via SIA.

"My brother told me he was flung from his seat, hitting his head on the overhead compartment before falling into the aisle during the turbulence. His condition has not improved since he was admitted, and he is undergoing an eyesight test today after perceiving colors differently, with dark colors appearing lighter," she told Bernama when met at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital today.

Eva said her sister-in-law Saw Rong, 33, who is two months pregnant, has been unable to sleep due to pain. The doctor explained that she injured her T5 spine, which is connected to many nerves and could cause permanent paralysis if not properly treated.

"Last Friday, Saw Rong finally agreed to a spine surgery after initially refusing it to protect her baby, and although she successfully underwent the surgery, she is still in pain as she refuses to take painkillers to avoid any risk to her baby,” she said.

Despite the couple now being able to consume soft food, Eva said Boo Leong still cannot walk normally, while Saw Rong still needs to wear a support brace.

"I have been here to offer assistance since last Wednesday, and all our family members and friends back in Malaysia are praying for their speedy recovery. I will continue to visit temples and shrines here to pray for their recovery and for them to be allowed to go home soon," she said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s ambassador to Thailand, Datuk Jojie Samuel, said that as of May 26, 10 Malaysians from SQ321 are being treated in Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital and Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital.

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He said that at Samitivej Sukhumvit, two patients have been discharged and one is in a normal ward, while at Samitivej Srinakarin, six Malaysians are still being treated.

"Currently, all patients are out of danger, in stable condition, and no more Malaysians are in the ICU. They have been transferred to normal wards. We will continue to monitor their situation and offer our assistance whenever needed," he said, adding that one of SIA's cabin crew, who is also Malaysian, has been allowed to return to Singapore for further treatment.

Flight SQ321, with 211 passengers and 18 crew members, was travelling from London to Singapore when it encountered sudden extreme turbulence over the Irrawaddy Basin at an altitude of 37,000 feet, approximately 10 hours after departure.

The pilot declared a medical emergency, and the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was diverted to Bangkok, landing at 3.45 pm local time on Tuesday. The incident resulted in one death - a 73-year-old British man - and multiple injuries. - BERNAMA