This is my first post to airliners.net, so I hope this provides a little insight.
I have been a fan of this site for many years, but decided today was the day to make the leap and become a member.
As a passenger on SQ308 last Sunday seats 38C and 39B. My wife and I witnessed first hand what was a interesting experience!
In photo number two of the CNN report, we are sat two rows in front of the chap in the white t-shirt.
On photo number 8, it is actually my wife an I laughing as we were handed a box of chocolates (me in the white t-shirt, my wife just in front of me in the black top).
To give you a first hand account of what happened.....a little different to the media version, everything was progressing normally with the flight from Singapore, and we had been warned of possible turbulence a couple of hours after departure.
Breakfast had just been served (a choice of noodles or scrambled eggs with chicken sausage), both of which we declined the offer of, when the pilot asked the cabin crew to take their seats, but not abruptly as reported.
As passengers, we had already been restricted by the seat belt sign for approximately ten minutes.
A couple of minutes after the crew sat down, the aircraft veered upwards slightly before plummeting straight down for a couple of seconds.
Every meal tray smashed into the ceiling, showering all passengers in food, broken glass and cutlery (of which SIA
still use metal as opposed to cheap unusable plastic utensils). Thankfully we had opted out of the food service, as did the passenger in 38A, so we escaped being covered in cornflakes, eggs and noodles. I was hit by a half eaten bread roll and a smidgen of yogurt, whilst my wife took a chicken sausage to the foot and some scrambled eggs filled her shoes (which somehow ended up in the aisle), all of which confirmed why we decided not to eat!!
The aircraft was a complete mess, people were screaming, crying and generally panicking. A couple of people stood up in our section of the cabin, which I suppose is a natural shock reaction, but a few of us shouted at them to sit back down.
A chap two rows in front of us had some kind of travel bag around his neck which ended up a row behind us in the aisle. I remember him having it as he had earlier walked past with a spoon poking from the top of it. This signals how sudden and violent the drop was.
Within two minutes of the incident, the cabin crew came through the cabin checking everyone was ok, there were several announcements for them to exercise caution whilst doing so, and they were just brilliant.
Then the monumental clean up operation took place. The crew spent an hour or so wiping every surface down, logging any injuries and reassuring everyone that it will be ok.
The flight continued back to blighty in the usual manner, no further problems to report, and the captain said they had, and were constantly reassessing the situation.
He explained that we were routing round some large storm clouds in the region, some were about 70-100 metres from us, and we hit CAT, no warning and nothing he could do to avoid or know it would happen.
Upon arrival, we all had to wait for the paramedics to assess every injured passenger (most complaining of neck pain!!) and then we were handed the box of chocolates as in picture 8 at the end of the air bridge.
Personally, I fly the LHR
route 5 or 6 times a year (and take over 100 flights (mostly long haul) in general due to work). The Bay of Bengal is always choppy, but this was rather extreme, and I simply cannot stress enough how brilliant the SIA
crew were once it had happened. Their cool calm attitude managed to ease the situation (although I fear it will be a struggle getting my wife on another plane), and the way handled things and cleaned the plane was above and beyond the call of duty.
Hats off to you SIA
FLYENTHU..... Thanks for the comment about everyone smiling. As my wife was handed the chocolates I commented: "here have some chocolates, please don't sue us" at which point everyone burst out laughing. Nothing brings 350 people together like a near death experience!
Btw, my two take home comments from all of this, Alan Cross who took the photos, I took one of the coffee on the ceiling and he said "yeah that was mine, I am wearing the other half", and after been given the chocolates, a female passenger said to my wife "I can't wait to get home and wash the cornflakes out of my hair". Somehow it made the whole thing seem 'a matter of fact'.