SQ321 turbulence: British man who died was grandfather who served local community for decades

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SINGAPORE: A 73-year-old British man who died after a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight he was on encountered severe turbulence has been named as Mr Geoff Kitchen.

Tributes were paid to the retired grandfather on Wednesday (May 22), who was well-known in his local town of Thornbury, near Bristol in southwest England.

It is believed that he was on flight SQ321 with his wife, headed for what neighbours told reporters was the “holiday of a lifetime” that was due to last six weeks. 

The plane had taken off from London's Heathrow Airport on Monday. It then "encountered sudden extreme turbulence" over Myanmar's Irrawaddy Basin, the airline said on Tuesday evening. 

The Boeing 777-300ER, bound for Singapore, then diverted to Bangkok after turbulence flung passengers and crew around the cabin, slamming some into the ceiling.

His death was likely due to a heart attack, Suvarnabhumi Airport general manager Kittipong Kittikachorn told a press conference.  

Mr Kitchen was remembered as an active part of his local musical theater group with a passion for his local community. 

He ran for election in his town council last year as an independent candidate, with a focus on restoring the “creative heart” of the neighbourhood. 

“Geoff was always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity and always did what was right for the group,” said the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group in a Facebook post. 

“His commitment to TMTG was unquestionable and he has served the group and the local community of Thornbury for over 35 years, holding various offices within the group, including chairman, treasurer and most recently secretary.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and the family at this difficult time, and we ask that you respect their privacy.”

According to The Guardian, ...

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