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1 person dead after severe turbulence hits Singapore Airlines flight

Singapore Airlines planes on the tarmac are seen here in December 2020. (Photo by Kevin Lim/AP via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — One person has died on board a Singapore Airlines plane that encountered severe turbulence on a flight from London to Singapore, the airline said Tuesday.

The Boeing 777-300ER plane diverted to Bangkok, according to a post on the Singapore Airlines Facebook page. A number of people have been injured, the airline said, though the company did not specify how many. It said 211 passengers and 18 crew were on board.

The flight landed in Bangkok at 3:45 p.m. local time (4:45 a.m. ET) Tuesday.

“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,” the company said in its post.

“Our priority is to provide all possible assistance to all passengers and crew on board the aircraft,” the airline added, extending its condolences to those affected.

Singapore’s Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat said he was “deeply saddened to learn about the incident,” in a statement posted to his social media.

“Ministry of Transport, Singapore, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport officials as well as SIA [Singapore Airlines] staff are providing support to the affected passengers and their families,” he said.

Turbulence occurs when a plane flies through clashing bodies of air moving at widely different speeds.

With light and moderate turbulence passengers might feel a strain against their seatbelt, and unsecured items could move around the cabin.

But in severe cases turbulence can throw passengers around the cabin, causing severe injuries and occasionally death.

In March 2023, severe turbulence on a private jet resulted in the death of a former White House official, just days after seven people were transported to hospitals after a separate commercial flight hit significant turbulence.

In July 2023, seven people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sydney, Australia, when the plane was buffeted by severe turbulence, and 36 people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Arizona to Honolulu in December 2022, with 20 people taken to emergency rooms.

A September 2022 study predicts that clear-air turbulence will increase significantly around the globe by the period 2050-2080, in particular along the busiest flight routes, and the strongest type of turbulence will increase the most.

This story has been updated with additional developments.