Monday, September 17, 2007

MORE PICS - Thai Budget Plane Crashed Sunday 16 Sep 07; 1-2 Go Flight OG269; 130 paxs; 87 Died 43 Survived; MAS cancelled KL-Phuket flights

UPDATE: Sep 17 07 8.40am;

Note: Family members, relatives & friends seeking information from the airline can contact the One-Two-Go hotline at 1126 or dial - - - > 076-351144 or 076-351166. (see Below, additional numbers)

Thailand International Dialing Code is 66, use this code first

ABOVE: Additional Numbers provided by 1-2-Go website; Thailand International Country Code: 66

ABOVE: Crash survivor John O'Donnell recounting his ordeal from a hospital bed and BELOW: initial firefighting to douse the flames

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ABOVE & BELOW: when the flames died out, the smoldering smoke remains
BELOW: an aerial view of the wreckage

= == == = == = == = == == = = == = == = == = === and from

88 perish in One-Two-Go crash'

Recovered bodies of the 88 victims of the One-Two-Go flight OG269 crash are being kept in a makeshift morgue at the airport. It is expected to take rescue workers all night to recover the remaining bodies from the wreckage. PHUKET: Of the 130 passengers and crew aboard One-Two-Go flight OG269 that crash landed at Phuket International Airport about 3:45 pm today, only 42 survived the crash and fire that followed it. Of these, 15 were Thai nationals. At a press conference at the Airports Of Thailand office about 9 pm, Phuket Airport Director Sq Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree said the crash was the result of a “mis-approach” landing, after which the pilot tried to regain enough speed to take off again – but failed.

Most of the survivors were either thrown from the fuselage when the plane crashed into a berm alongside the taxiway or managed to escape before the intense fire that followed, he said. All 42 survivors were rushed to hospital. Thirty were sent to Bangkok Phuket Hospital, 10 to Phuket International Hospital and two to Vachira Phuket Hospital. Five escaped with minor injuries that did not require treatment. Phuket International Hospital has released the names of three foreign survivors: Swedes Christopher Marken and Eric Nihlen; Dutchwoman Sarah Marie Whittington. Bangkok Phuket Hospital has reported three survivors as requiring intensive care treatment, while Phuket International Hospital has two survivors in its ICU ward. Two of the seven crew members aboard the McDonnell Douglas MD82 aircraft survived. They were identified as cabin crew members Orasin Saengboonruang and Apichit Batha.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed. The bodies that rescue workers have recovered are being kept in a makeshift morgue (ABOVE) in an airport hanger. Udom Thantprasongchai, Managing Director of Orient Thai, which operates the low-cost One-Two-Go service, is expected to arrive in Phuket soon from Krabi. He will be accompanied by Ministry of Interior Permanent Secretary and former Phuket Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi and Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Nongchooam. Passengers seeking information from the airline can contact the One-Two-Go hotline at 1126 or dial 076-351144 or 076-351166.

= == == = == = ==Malaysiakini on a tight budget operates on Sunday with a skeleton staff and has not covered this crash yet. Its current top weekend topics covered inter alia are Police chief: Ceramah location matters and UPM security ‘stole’ laptop, claims student activist

= = == == = Latest from Bangkok Ind Paper - NATION
Published on September 17, 2007

ABOVE: Thai firefighters trying to put out the fire and help passengers out of a plane that crashed in Phuket, southern Thailand on Sunday

Forty-three people survived in the first local disaster for lowcost airline industry since its introduction a few years ago.

One Two Go Flight OG 269 lost balance while touching down and skidded off the runway. The MD82 plane slammed into trees and an earth embankment, exploding and breaking in two, witnesses and officials said. Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla said 87 people died and 43 people survived. There were a total of 130 passenger and crew on the plane. Of the 43 survivors, 15 are Thais and 28 foreigners. The verification of identities of both the dead and injured were far from complete at press time. Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongchaum earlier said that there were 78 foreigners on board. Tourists from Australia, Austria, Britain, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands were being treated at main provincial hospitals.

ABOVE & BELOW: Parts of the fuselage of a MacDonnel Douglas MD82 that brokeup were not burnt

A surviving Thai passenger said the plane "landed hard" and "bounced" and then skidded off the runway. Air Transport Department chief Chiasak Angkauwan said, "the airplane requested to land but due to the weather in Phuket strong wind and heavy rain maybe the pilot did not see the runway clearly." One survivor told of a fast drop in altitude by the airplane and sudden brief jerk upward. He said they plane then crash landed and exploded. He saw several fellow passengers on fire. It was not immediately clear if the pilot, who was reportedly killed, was attempting to pull the aircraft up in the last minute when it crashlanded.

hole in the burnt out fuselage and BELOW: the charred ABOVE: The gaping remains of part of the fuselage BELOW: The charred remains

He had reportedly been allowed to circle the airport to wait for improvement in weather conditions. An official at the Phuket Airport control tower, who asked not to be named, said the pilot had been told of bad weather conditions, especially very strong winds. Shortly before the ill fated flight crash landed, another low cost airliner originating from Hong Kong had successfully touched down, he said. Officials said victims could have died on impact, or from suffocation or fire resulting from explosions. According to an initial account, the plane's fuselage was torn open in the accident, some of the survivors were those thrown out through the opening. Flight OG 269, approached the Phuket airport at about 3.40pm from Bangkok. Phuket had earlier been hit by heavy rains. Eyewitnesses said the impact of the crash caused the plane to break in two and they heard loud explosions.

ABOVE & BELOW: Rescuers looking and extricating bodies from the wreckage

Rescue teams and navy personnel were involved in the rescue operation. Bodies were piled up in the smouldering wreckage. All flights in and out of the Phuket airport have been cancelled. An Irish tourist, identifying himself only as "John", said he was on board the flight. He and his friend survived with bruises all over their bodies. "We sat on the 18th row. The weather was real bad and there were lots of unusual noises during the landing. Something was obviously wrong [during the landing]," he said. He and his friend escaped through the emergency door. Meanwhile Transportation Minister Thira Haochareon said Phuket International Airport was temporary closed after the crash. He said the body of the aircraft hit the runway and was on fire. The air traffic control source said the aircraft's right wing made contact with the runway at the initial stage of the accident. MacDonnel Douglas MD82 has a passenger capacity of 175 seats, with flight ceiling of 37,000 feet and flight distance of 3,500 kilometres. AFP reported that the accident was witnessed from the sky. It said Marine Keisel, from Paris, was aboard a plane behind the one that crashed and saw the accident happen.

ABOVE & BELOW: Rescue efforts were implemented immediately as the crash is within the airport compound. The injured were transferred to nearby hospitals

"When the plane landed it caught fire," she told AFP at Phuket airport. "We could see the fire coming out of it. It was chaos inside my plane." Authorities say they will not make any assumption regarding the cause of the tragedy until investigation is completed, although bad weather was obviously a problem at the airport over the weekend. An American pilot who landed just prior to the One Two Go plane reportedly told CNN that the landing was one of the toughest he had ever undertaken - indicating that the weather conditions were severe. Like several other airlines, One Two Go has reportedly undergone manpower changes. The boss of One Two Go and Orient Thai budget airlines, Udom Tantisprongchai, is said to have replaced several of his Western and Thai pilots - allegedly to cut costs and reduce the chance of work disputes _ with crews with Indonesian and Philippine pilots. However, authorities insisted it was too soon to presume anything, including whether human errors played a part in the tragedy. Certain reports said the pilot was given permission to abort the landing in the final minutes. Communications between the pilot and the air traffic controller and their judgements _ information contained in the black box _ could shed some light on the tragedy. Some aviation sources said an instruction or decision to land in Krabi could have been taken in extreme weather conditions. Last night a swarm of media had descended on the office of One Two Go, near the intersection of Asoke and Sukhumvit. With the high death toll and the fact that it took place in the heart of Thailand's tourism industry, the issue of whether or not there were human errors involved could become hot up very soon, the aviation sources said.
= == = and the Air Crash in Thailand, Update news from Bernama

September 16, 2007 21:49 PM; By D. Arul Rajoo

More Than 110 Believed Killed In Phuket Air Crash

BANGKOK, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- More than 110 people are believed to have been killed when a plane of a Thailand budget carrier with 128 people on board slid off the runway after landing and broke into two at the Phuket International Airport, about an hour's flight southwest of here. Initial reports indicate that Malaysians were not among the passengers on Flight OG269 of One-Two-Go Airlines that crash-landed at about 3.40pm after heavy rain. According to reports, rescue workers have found 66 bodies. The reports said at least 74 of the passengers were Thais and the rest foreigners. Among the injured were Britons, Australians, Iranians, Germans and Irish while the identities of the dead were not known yet.

ABOVE & BELOW: Rescue efforts were quick from the relevant department

The One-To-Go Airlines was carrying 123 passengers and five crew when it slid off the runway and broke into two before catching fire. The plane had flown from Don Muang International Airport here. One-Two-Go Airlines is a low-cost airline based in Bangkok and is the domestic subsidiary of Orient Thai Airlines. The airline started operations in December 2003 with a Bangkok-to-Chiang Mai service. It recently added an additional daily flight out of Don Muang to Phuket, giving it six flights a day. It has eight McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets in its fleet. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) cancelled its second daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket following the closure of the airport.

A MAS official said the MH790 Kuala Lumpur-Phuket flight was scheduled to have arrived in Phuket at 6.30pm (7.30pm Malaysian time) and returned to Kuala Lumpur at 7.35pm. He said the 67 passengers who were to have travelled from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur on Flight MH791 had been taken to a hotel and would fly tomorrow once the airport opened. The airline operates two flights on the route, with the first leaving Kuala Lumpur at 9.30am. MAS has four flights daily between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

= = == More from IHT
One-Two-GO passenger jet crashes upon landing at Phuket

By Thomas Fuller; IHT; Published: September 16, 2007

BANGKOK: A budget airline carrying foreign tourists crashed in heavy rain and broke into several pieces on the resort island of Phuket on Sunday, killing at least 56 of the 130 passengers and crew on board. More bodies would probably be retrieved from the smoldering wreckage of Flight OG 269, an MD-82 operated by One-Two-GO, a Bangkok-based airline, officials said. There were 43 confirmed survivors of the crash, Woratot Rattasima, the deputy governor of Phuket, said on Thai television. The flight, which left the Don Muang airport at Bangkok at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, carried 123 passengers, two pilots and five crew, television reports said. Kongkiat Katepetch, a doctor at Krung Thep Hospital in Phuket, said he had admitted 29 injured passengers, including 5 in serious condition.

Eleven of the injured were Thai, 8 British, two Austrians, two Iranian and two Irish. There was also one Italian, one German and one Dutch passenger injured. Another remained unidentified. The exact cause of the crash remained unclear Sunday evening but witnesses said that amid heavy wind and rain the plane had slid off the runway soon after touching down.

Chaowalert Jitjumnong, a survivor of the crash who was seated in row 22 said he heard no explosion. "The plane slid and then crashed," Chaowalert said on the Thai television channel TITV. "It was dark and there was a lot of smoke." Chaowalert said he crawled toward the light. "I slid out onto the wing," he said. "After I got out of the plane I saw fire."
The crash was the latest in a series of accidents involving low-cost airlines in Southeast Asia. Orient Thai airlines, an affiliate of One-Two-GO, has been warned about its safety procedures. The crash was the latest in a series of accidents involving low-cost airlines in Southeast Asia. Orient Thai airlines, an affiliate of One-Two-GO, has been warned about its safety procedures. In March 2006, the South Korean Ministry of Construction and Transportation issued a warning to Orient Thai airlines and two other budget carriers for "frequent delays and substandard safety measures," according to the Korea Times newspaper.

The ministry said that Orient Thai, which operated flights from Inchon, South Korea, to Bangkok, had not updated its safety and operational manuals as required and that fire extinguishers and oxygen tanks were not in working condition. "We ordered the carriers to improve the detected items," the Korea Times quoted an official saying.

The official also was quoted saying that the Korean government would urge the Thai government "to strengthen aviation safety." In October 2004, a Boeing 747-200 operated by Orient Thai came within 200 meters, or 660 feet, of the Tokyo Tower while making its final approach to the city's Haneda Airport, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. Mainichi quoted Orient Thai as saying the plane's captain had failed to give proper instructions to his crew on landing procedures at Haneda.

In Phuket on Sunday, officials praised emergency workers for responding quickly to the crash. Rescue teams had carried out a drill Sept. 6 involving a burning aircraft. Pornnapa Wongakanit contributed reporting from Bangkok.

= == = =the STAR report is OUTdated; Sunday STAR; September 16, 2007

Dozens feared dead in Phuket plane crash

PHUKET: An airliner exploded and broke in two after it slid off the runway and crashed into nearby walls at Phuket airport on Sunday afternoon. Some reports put the death toll at about 60, but this has yet to be confirmed. The nationalities of those onboard is also unknown, but Phuket is a highly popular destination for overseas tourists.

Civil aviation official Chiasak Angkauwan said, "the airplane asked to land but due to the weather in Phuket -- strong wind and heavy rain -- maybe the pilot did not see the runway clearly." "The plane then fell onto the runway and broke into two. It is expected that there will be deaths." "We are rescuing people from the aircraft ... we know now there were 123 passengers and five crew," he told the news channel. "We won't know what really happened until we hear the black box." The airliner services Bangkok-Phuket flights six times a week. The ill-fated airline left Don Muang airport at about 2.30pm.

Information now coming in said the plane, which was being used by local budget travel company, One-to-Go Airline, had 123 passengers and five crew. The aircraft, flight number OG 269, landed at Phuket airport at about 3.40pm from Bangkok and was taxiing along the runway when it went into a slide. Phuket had earlier been hit by heavy rains.

It crashed into trees and walls surrounding the airport. Eye-witnesses said the impact of the crash caused the plane to break in two and they heard a series of explosions. Rescue teams and navy personnel rushed to the scene.- The Nation/ANN


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