THAILAND: Thai budget airline plane crash leaves at least 88 people dead on holiday island of PhuketRecord ID: 382225
- Title: THAILAND: Thai budget airline plane crash leaves at least 88 people dead on holiday island of Phuket
- Date: 17th September 2007
- Summary: PAN: DOMESTIC DEPARTURE CHECK-IN DESKS DEPARTURE MONITOR SHOWS PHUKET BOUND FLIGHTS FOR MONDAY MORNING
- Reuters ID: LVA731ZTHEDIIZRAXJCYLMQPBNAM
- Location: Thailand
- Country: Thailand
- Duration: 00:00:12
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Transport
- Story Text: Thai authorities said 88 people died but more than 40 survived when a budget airline's plane crashed and burst into flames on the Thai holiday island of Phuket.
A budget airliner packed with foreign tourists crashed on the Thai resort island of Phuket on Sunday (September 16), killing 88 people as it broke up and burst into flames while trying to land in heavy rain, officials said.
The remaining 42 people on board the flight from Bangkok survived and were being treated in nearby hospitals for a variety of injuries, Phuket deputy governor Vorapot Rajsima said.
Five passengers were listed as critical, with burns to 60 percent of their bodies. Survivors spoke of atrocious weather conditions as the plane came in to land, with torrential rain lashing the coastal airstrip and bending over trees.
Some said they thought the McDonnell Douglas MD-82, operated by Bangkok-based low-cost operator One-Two-Go, was coming in too fast.
One survivor, an Irishman named John, described the attempts to land in atrocious conditions to Thai TV channel ITV.
"The plane was landing and it just fell. We could tell that something was wrong and the next minute, bang, that's all I can remember. You could tell as it was landing that it was in trouble and it just was making a noise, just bang," he said.
"I released my strap and I tried to find my friend, but could not find my friend. I got out of the plane and he was already outside. I got badly burnt. The plane was on fire, but I managed to get through the exit."
Airports of Thailand said there were seven crew and 78 foreigners on board, most of them European holidaymakers. More than 13 million tourists are forecast to visit Thailand this year.
Fourteen Thais, eight Britons, five Iranians and four Germans were among the survivors, hospital workers said.
Officials said the plane had broken in two when it touched down on the runway on the island dubbed the "Pearl of the Andaman" despite the devastation wrought by the Dec. 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Distraught relatives and friends of passengers gathered at the airport and at the terminal in Bangkok, desperate for news.
But Pinit Saraithong, director of Bangkok's domestic airport, said authorities would not issue a list of the dead passengers until the Phuket authorities had confirmed them.
The crash is bound to sharpen fears about the safety of the dozens of low-cost operators that have sprung up across Southeast Asia in the past decade.
Despite a number of crashes and scares, most recently in Indonesia, analysts say there is no hard evidence to suggest budget carriers are more accident-prone than full-service operators.
Much of the investigation is bound to focus on the weather conditions as the plane was coming in.
Officials said the airport, which serves international and domestic flights, was expected to re-open on Monday and One-Two-Go have two flights planned for Monday morning, mainly carrying relatives of the crashed plane's victims from the capital.
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