British Airways passenger’s terror at 30,000ft as plane ‘freefalls’ in violent turbulence

Jade Crosland and her family (Jade Crosland)
Jade Crosland and her family (Jade Crosland)

A mother-of-two has described her terror after her plane was hit by the worst turbulence ‘in years’ as it was flying at 30,000ft.

Jade Crosland, 31, said she “fell out of the sky” during her British Airways flight from Singapore to Heathrow.

Ms Crosland was travelling on the plane with her partner and two children to visit her mother-in-law for her 60th birthday, when it was hit by turbulence in the early hours of Friday morning.

She told The Independent: “It was caused by a pocket of cold air, which can happen, and you can’t detect it on a radar. So they obviously can detect changes in temperature and turbulence. Normally, they can pre-anticipate it, but this specific air bubble can’t be detected. So we just flew straight through it.

“I guess it was normal turbulence, then these two cold air bubbles that we hit just made the plane completely freefall.”

The 31-year-old, who lives in Australia, said the plane dropped as she got up to strap her daughter into her seat.

“Everyone was completely panicking and filled with fear,” she said. “Normally when you know there's turbulence or something happens, you look to the cabin crew to support and the ease and the cabin crew were completely frantic as well.”

Ms Crosland described the scenes as, she said, trays of food flew across the cabin and one of the plane’s cabin crew was knocked out when a trolley hit him in the head.

The BA12 flight before the turbulence (Jade Crosland)
The BA12 flight before the turbulence (Jade Crosland)

Another cabin crew member is reportedly undergoing an MRI to check severe bruising on her hip, and a third is in hospital following surgery on their ankle and femur.

“I thought we were going to die,” Ms Crosland said.

The 31-year-old said the turbulence lasted for around 20 minutes, but “it felt like an eternity” as she feared the plane would dive into the ocean.

The Boeing 777-300ER plane hit turbulence as it flew over the Bay of Bengal. Ms Crosland said during the ordeal, she spoke to a member of the cabin crew who said such turbulence had only happened twice in his 25-year career. “He had never experienced anything like it,” she said.

The flight was forced to turn back to Singapore at around 3am on Friday and the plane was checked for structural damage.

Passengers were also given hotel accommodation and were rebooked on to later flights.

The route of the diverted flight (Flight Tracker)
The route of the diverted flight (Flight Tracker)

Ms Crosland praised the cabin crew staff for their response to the turbulence and said both her children managed to stay asleep during the incident.

A frequent flier, she said she got on the next available flight to the UK despite the scary experience.

A British Airways spokesman said: “Safety is always our priority and we’re looking after our crew after one of our flights experienced a rare episode of severe turbulence.

“Our highly trained team on board reassured customers and the aircraft returned to Singapore as a precaution.

“We’ve apologised to customers for the delay to their flight and provided them with hotel accommodation and information on their consumer rights.

“We’re rebooking customers on to the next available flights with us and other airlines.”