Sunday, 16 September 2007

Aircraft crashes on Phuket in attempt to land

At least 66 people have been killed on Phuket Island after an aircraft crashed in heavy rain whilst trying to land.

It's reported the aircraft split in two and then burst into flames.

The budget airline One-Two-Go was on a popular route from Bangkok to Phuket carrying 123 passengers and five crew.

Survivors have been describig their escape from the plane's windows as smoke began to consume the plane.

Pairnwit Chusaeng one of the survivors said: ``I saw passengers engulfed in fire as I stepped over them on way out of the plane, I was afraid that the airplane was going to explode so I ran away.''

Deputy Governor of Phuket Worapot Ratthaseema told press: ``At least 66 people have been confirmed dead and 42 have been hospitalized."

He later added that the remaining passengers are still missing.

As many as 27 of the injured passengers are thought to be Irish, Israeli, Australian and British.

One of the survivors who is Irish was badly burned on his arms, legs and back as he escaped the fire. He has told media that he knew something was wrong before the plane landed.

``You could tell when it was landing it was in trouble,'' he said. ``It was making a noise, this bang.''

It's thought the severe weather played a major part in this accident. Chaisak Angsuwan director of Air Transport Authority of Thailand said: ``The visibility was poor as the pilot attempted to land. He decided to make a go-around but the plane lost balance and crashed,'' he said. ``It was torn into two parts.''

This is the second fatal air accident since 1998 when 101 people were killed after a Thai Airways jet crashed whilst trying to land in heavy rain in Surat Thani. Forty Five people survived that incident.

Investigations continue.

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