Singapore Airlines airplanes at Changi Airport in Singapore

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) passengers with spinal and brain injuries from the recent turbulent flight could seek eight-figure payouts, according to a legal expert.

The turbulence incident on Flight SQ321 has led to severe injuries, with some passengers potentially facing life-changing consequences, according to The Business Times.

Peter Neenan, a partner at Stewarts, a London-based law firm specialising in aviation litigation, commented on the potential compensation.

In an interview, Mr Neenan noted that previous cases involving similar injuries often resulted in claims that reached seven or even eight figures.

Doctors updated the situation on Thursday, revealing the extent of the injuries. Several dozen passengers experienced traumatic injuries, some of which could be life-changing.

Among the injured, 22 individuals are being treated for spinal and spinal cord injuries, and another six for skull and brain trauma. Tragically, a 73-year-old Briton died from a suspected heart attack following the turbulence.

The Boeing 777, carrying 229 crew and passengers, encountered extreme turbulence over Myanmar en route from London to Singapore. The severe turbulence forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon.

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According to the Montreal Convention, which governs international aviation rights and compensation, “Singapore Airlines is liable for up to US$170,000 per person.”

However, depending on the findings of the ongoing investigation into the incident, the potential for larger damages exists.

This investigation, which could take years, will examine various factors, including flight planning, weather information, and the actions of both passengers and crew during and before the turbulence.

One critical aspect of the legal scrutiny will be whether passengers wore their seatbelts at the time of the incident. This factor could significantly influence the level of compensation awarded.

As of Friday, 48 people remain hospitalised in Bangkok, receiving treatment for their injuries. Singapore Airlines has responded to the incident by implementing changes to their in-flight procedures.

The airline announced that meal services will now be halted when the seatbelt sign is on, and hot drinks will no longer be served during these times. Crew members will also be required to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts. /TISG

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Read also: SIA announces changes to cabin rules after May 21 turbulence fatality

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