Connect with us

World

British Man, 21, Recalls Trying to Save 73-Year-Old Who Died on Turbulent Singapore Airlines Flight

Published

on

A British healthcare worker who was on the Singapore Airlines flight on May 21 that experienced severe turbulence is recalling the frightening moments when he tried to save the man who died mid-flight.

Toby Pearl, 21, told the BBC that he had been on the flight heading to Australia with his friend Liam James-Morris. Everything had been going fine, he said, before the seatbelt sign came on and the turbulence “was absolutely instant.”

“Nobody had any time to react. That’s why I think there’s so many injuries,” Pearl told the outlet. “Myself and many other passengers were thrown into the air with drinks trolleys, and different bits and bobs. My seat came up in the air with me as well.”

Of the 46 people who were hospitalized due to the turbulence, 22 reported spinal cord injuries, while six reported brain and skull injuries.

Geoffrey Kitchen, a 73-year-old grandfather, died of a suspected heart attack during the incident.

Pearl told BBC that he had been one of the people that tried to help Kitchen when he needed medical aid.

He said within 30 seconds of the turbulence, there were calls for first aid-trained help and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to provide aid.

“Without really thinking, I jumped out the seat and over the aisle,” he said, noting that he sprung into action alongside a doctor and nurse.

“I worked as a healthcare worker at Llanarth Court Hospital as my main job before I came traveling, so I have some experience in healthcare, but this was stuff you don’t normally see,” Pearl further explained. 

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

He detailed that he performed CPR on Kitchen for about 30 minutes, trying to keep him alive. However, the turbulence was still bad, and they could not get a shocking rhythm on the AED. 

Pearl said that the doctor and nurse he was working with had to make some “really tough calls” and eventually called Kitchen’s death. He said it “must have been a really hard call as the man’s wife was sat only a row behind, so she was witnessing the whole thing.”

The flight was carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members from London’s Heathrow Airport to Singapore in a Boeing 777 when it encountered turbulence, according to a previous statement shared on Facebook by Singapore Airlines.

The airline has since said that it is implementing new safety measures in the wake of the incident, including the suspension of meal service and hot beverage service during times “when the seat-belt sign is on,” per ABC News.

“Crew members will also return to their seats and secure their seat belts when the seat-belt sign is on,” the airline said, according to the publication.

Continue Reading