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  • Christopher G. Moore

Budget Airline Crash in Phuket

Yesterday a MD-82 twin-engine departing from Bangkok crashed as it attempted to land at Phuket airport. Reports here list 88 known dead about around 42 passengers survived the crash. Among the dead 50 were foreigners. The flight was on One Two Go flight OG 269. There had been heavy rain and gusting winds at the time of the crash.

Last night all the local stations along with CNN carried footage of the crash. The plane split in part on impact. Some passengers were thrown out of the crashed plane; most died for fire or suffocation inside. The plane caught fire after the impact. Apparently there wasn’t much time until the entire plane was consumed in flames. Reports indicate that many passengers had been knocked unconscious by the force of the impact and still had their seatbelts on when the flames incinerated the aircraft.

The survivors didn't have long to leave the plane; most of the survivors were in the back of the plane and were able to scramble out of windows, emergency exit or holes in the broken aircraft. Foreigners listed as killed were from Australia, Austria, Britain, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The current theory is pilot error. The pilot was among those listed as killed. Years ago when I lived in England on several occasions I trained on the flight simulator at Heathrow Airport. One purpose of the simulator is to train pilots in bad weather conditions. Wind shear, electrical storms, heavy rain, fog, or snow are all part of the training. It would be interesting to know how extensively the budget airlines flight training is for their pilots. Such training is expensive and time consuming and the question must be asked whether budget carriers to trim costs on these cheap flights are paying for pilots who have had the best training and regular flight simulator exercises.

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