Pattaya Daily News

05 August 2009 :: 10:08:23 am 33276

Samui Airport Expected To Re-Open In Afternoon: Civil Aviation Department

BANGKOK, Aug 5 - Samui Airport where a Bangkok Airways aircraft skidded off the runway and crashed into an unused air traffic control tower after landing is expected to re-open for normal service after midday when investigators inspect the runway and complete collecting evidence to help find the cause of the accident, a senior aviation official said on Wednesday.
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Bangkok Airways flight PG266 hit the old air traffic control tower, converted into a fire station, killing a pilot and injured 41 passengers. The aircraft, enroute from Krabi to Samui airport in the popular resort island of Samui in Surat Thani, carried 68 passengers and four crew members.

Mrs Kannika Khemawuthanont, Director-General of Thailand?s Civil Aviation Department, said the authorities had already retrieved the black box but the cause of the accident could not yet be concluded as the box required decoding abroad and investigators must collect more evidence at the airport.

She said this morning the authorities would inspect the runway to collect evidence, including aircraft tyre traces on the runway, and then remove the damaged aircraft before re-opening the airport.

It was expected that the airport could resume normal services after midday, she said.

The cause of the accident could be concluded after the investigation team receives the data from black box and combines with other evidence, including blood test results from the pilots, which could take several weeks, the director-general said.

She added that the initial information showed that there was no heavy rain while the plane landing as earlier report but it was windy afternoon.

The aircraft was just landing normally and running for 300 metres before turning to hit the building, she said, adding that the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control was ordinary procedure.

Meanwhile, the body of pilot Chartchai Pansuwan was airlifted to Bangkok Wednesday morning together with the co-pilot, who is in critical condition.

He suffered broken ribs and other broken bone and was admitted to Bangkok Hospital in the capital.

The co-pilot was stuck in the aircraft for more than two hours and was reportedly among the last to be evacuated from the heavily damaged plane.

Five foreigners who were seriously injured are recovering after successful operations. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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