We have received reports that passengers on Thai Airways flight TG434 from Jakarta to Bangkok were hospitalised on Monday after the aircraft hit severe turbulence over Singapore.

The Boeing 777-200 which was reportedly carrying 72 passengers, 12 crew and 2 pilots hit severe air turbulence without warning.   We understand that as no seat belt announcement was made, many passengers struggled to hold on with one particular passenger sustaining a laceration to his head that bled profusely.  Carry on luggage, service trolleys, pillows and personal items were also reportedly thrown around the cabin hitting passengers and crew.

The Thai Airways pilots have been praised for controlling the plane according to turbulence safety procedures and  landing it safely at its destination.  Ground staff met the plane and arranged for the injured passengers to be treated in hospital.

This latest turbulence incident is a reminder of the similar incident that struck Air New Zealand flight NZ90 in January 2016, and Qantas Flight QF32 in January 2012.

When passengers suffer injury during international air travel, their rights are covered by international conventions rather than domestic law.  The convention that usually applies is the Montreal Convention 1999, although the Warsaw Convention 1929 will apply in some circumstances.

These conventions entitle passengers to claim compensation for injuries sustained in accidents on aircraft without having to prove negligence by the airline.  This allows passengers incurred by turbulence related accidents such as this to be compensated by the air carrier without having to establish that the airline was at fault, for example by not avoiding the air turbulence or failing to make a seat belt announcement.  For Australian passengers, a claim can be brought in Australia and losses quantified under Australian law.

The laws relating to accidents during international and domestic air travel are complex and there are short time limits to make a claim.  If you or a loved one has been injured on an aircraft, it is important to seek specialist legal advice.  Contact our travel law experts on 1800 25 1800 for a no obligation assessment of your claim, or make an online enquiry.

Written by Victoria Roy.

Victoria Roy is an Associate at Stacks Goudkamp.  Victoria specialises in bringing personal injury claims for people who have been injured on aircraft, cruise ships and overseas in Stacks Goudkamp’s Travel Law Department.  Victoria recently presented at Sydney’s AeroPodium aviation law conference in February 2016.