‘Hell of a shock’: Aussie couple’s Singapore flight plea

Singapore Airlines passenger Keith Davis

Source: Today show

An Adelaide man hurt in this week’s Singapore Airlines turbulence has spoken of his shock as he pleads for an emergency flight home for his seriously injured wife.

Keith Davis has been trying to arrange a medevac transfer to Australia for his wife, Kerry Jordan, who has serious spinal injuries and will need further surgery.

The couple are both in Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where they have been since flight SQ321’s emergency landing after it flew into horror turbulence over the Andaman Sea on Tuesday.

“It’s a hell of a shock. Absolute shock. You just don’t expect this,” Davis told Nine’s Today show on Friday.

“I mean, these things happen. But who expects this?”

Jordan had recently had surgery but has suffered “severe spinal trauma” and has no feeling below her waist, Davis said.

“She’s been conscious all the way through, which is a blessing,” he said.

“She doesn’t have a brain injury, she’s got all of her wits about her. She’s strong and we just want to get home.”

He said he had “superficial lacerations” and swelling and bruising, but was not seriously injured.

Jordan is one of 20 people still in intensive care in Bangkok after passengers, crew and items were tossed around the Boeing 777’s cabin when it plunged more than 1800 metres in just a few minutes.

Davis said there was “absolute carnage” aboard when the turbulence hit without warning.

“We just fell into a free-fall zone … and before we knew it, we’re on the ceiling, and then, bang, we’re on the ground,” he said.

“[My wife] fell into the aisle, she didn’t move from then on … That was where she remained for the rest of the flight – it was really horrifying.”

Late on Thursday, there were uncomfortable scenes between Davis and hospital staff as he tried to speak to the media about his predicament with Jordan. Davis said he had not been given any information by Singapore Airlines.

“We’ve been left in limbo”, he said as hospital staff wheeled him away.

Later, the hospital’s director apologised and said staff were trying only to protect patient privacy.

A public relations officer for the hospital told the Associated Press that other local hospitals had been asked to lend specialists to assist in treating those injured on the Singapore flight. He spoke on condition of anonymity under hospital policy.

On Friday, Davis said he had spoken to Singapore Airlines boss Goh Choon Phong, and was feeling more positive.

In a later statement, Singapore Airlines said Phong had “given [patients] my personal assurance that we will take care of them during this difficult time”.

However, a flight home for Jordan may still be weeks away.

Hospital director Adinun Kittiratanapaibool said on Thursday that none of the 20 patients in ICU were in a life-threatening condition.

They include six from the Britain, six Malaysians, three Australians, two Singaporeans and one person each from Hong Kong, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Other passengers have described the “sheer terror” of the aircraft shuddering, loose items flying and injured people lying paralysed on the floor of the plane when the turbulence hit.

In one of the latest accounts of the chaos on board, 43-year-old Malaysian Amelia Lim described finding herself face down on the floor.

“I was so afraid … I could see so many individuals on the floor, they were all bleeding. There was blood on the floor as well as on the people,” she told the online Malay Mail newspaper.

The woman who had been seated next to her was “motionless in the aisle and unable to move, likely suffering from a hip or spinal injury”, she said.

Thai authorities said Geoff Kitchen, the 73-year-old British man who died in the incident, possibly had a heart attack.

Passengers have described how the flight crew tried to revive him by performing CPR for about 20 minutes.

Of the 41 people still in Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital on Thursday morning, 22 had spinal or spinal cord damage, six had skull or brain injuries and 13 had damage to bones or internal organs, hospital director Adinun said.

The 19 men and 22 women ranged in age from two years to 8.

Thirteen others injured in the incident remain at two other branches of the hospital.

-with AAP

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