One dead, 40 injured in Thailand air crash

August 5th, 2009 - 12:22 am ICT by John Le Fevre  

bangkok airways ATR-72 A Bangkok Airways flight on a scheduled service from the south-western town of Krabi to the holiday island of Koh Samui crashed while landing earlier today killing the pilot and injuring 41 passengers.

The 75-seat French built ATR-72 turbo-prop aircraft with 68 passengers and a crew of four was attempting to land during a fierce monsoonal downpour and strong winds.

Eyewitness accounts say the aircraft aquaplaned off the runway and crossed a grass verge before colliding with the old control tower, finally coming to rest inside the airports emergency services building.

Emergency crews were quickly on the scene and coated the aircraft in low-expansion foam, preventing any fire from breaking-out while those onboard were evacuated.

The Koh Samui airport remains closed to aircraft tonight pending a formal investigation into the cause of the crash.

Bangkok Airways president Captain Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said the majority of passengers onboard the ill-fated flight were foreigners, and comprised those from Italy, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.

Captain Puttipong said the pilot of the aircraft, Captain Chartchai Pansuwan, who had more than 14-years experience flying this model aircraft, was killed in the crash, while 10 passengers received serious injuries and 40 others minor injuries.

Bangkok Airways is Thailand’s oldest privately-owned airline, having started operating as an air-taxi carrier in 1968, before commencing scheduled flight services in 1986.

It currently operates flights to 20 Thailand domestic destinations, as well as to Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Singapore, Hiroshima, and the Maldives.

Todays crash was it’s second at the Koh Samui airport, with a de Havilland Canada DHC-8-103 crashing in similar circumstances in November 1990, killing all 38 people on board.

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Posted in Thailand, Thailand Tourism |