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Singapore Airlines alters seatbelt policy after fatal turbulence incident

After a passenger died aboard one of its flights earlier in the week, Singapore Airlines is making changes to its in-flight seat belt policy. Photo courtesy of Suvarnabhumi Airport/Facebook
1 of 3 | After a passenger died aboard one of its flights earlier in the week, Singapore Airlines is making changes to its in-flight seat belt policy. Photo courtesy of Suvarnabhumi Airport/Facebook

May 24 (UPI) -- Singapore Airlines said it is making changes to its in-flight seatbelt policy after a passenger died aboard one of its flights earlier in the week.

The Singapore flag carrier will no longer provide hot beverage or meal service during a flight when the fasten seatbelt sign is illuminated, the airline told CNBC in a statement.

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Suspending service while the fasten seatbelt sign is on is part of a "more cautious approach" to all in-flight service.

"Crew members will also continue to advise passengers to return to their seats and secure their seatbelts. They will also monitor customers who may require assistance, including those in the lavatories," the airline said in the statement.

The airline will also make changes to at least one of its long-haul routes, after a man from Britain died and dozens of other passengers were injured when "sudden extreme turbulence" hit a flight from London to Singapore Tuesday. The 73-year-old reportedly suffered a heart attack mid-flight, leading the pilot to declare a medical emergency.

Airline officials later said the man, who was traveling with his family, had a heart condition.

The Boeing 777-300ER was carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew and was forced to divert to Bangkok after it encountered turbulence 37,000 feet over Myanmar, causing passengers and crew to be thrown around the cabin.

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Singapore Airlines is continuing to operate the daily route between London and Singapore, but radar records show the carrier has since diverted away from part of Myanmar where the turbulence occurred Tuesday.

Several people who were on the fight remain in the Thailand capital.

"Singapore Airlines can confirm that 61 passengers and two crew members who were on board SQ321 are still in Bangkok. This includes 44 passengers and two crew members who are in the hospital receiving medical treatment," the carrier confirmed in a statement Friday.

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