The pilot of a Bangkok Airways flight was reportedly killed and some 50 others injured following a crash landing on the Thailand holiday island of Koh Samui this afternoon.
Initial reports say the flight was attempting to land during heavy rain when it slid off the runway and crashed into the emergency services command building housing the airport’s firefighting and ambulance vehicles. Despite this 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.
Reports from the scene say the aircraft, a 74-seat propeller-driven French-built ATR-72, was on a scheduled flight from the southern Thailand city of Krabi when the crash occurred.
Bangkok Airways president, Captain Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, said the majority of passengers onboard the ill-fated flight were foreigners, and comprised nationals from Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.
The dead pilot of the aircraft, Captain Chartchai Pansuwan, had more than 14-years experience flying this model aircraft, said Mr Prasarttong-Osoth, while 10 passengers received serious injuries and 40 others minor injuries.
Bangkok Airways was established in 1968 as Sahakol Air operating air-taxi services and began scheduled flights in 1986, becoming Thailand’s first privately-owned domestic airline.
In 1989 it re-branded to become Bangkok Airways and currently operates flights to 20 domestic Thailand destinations, as well as to Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Singapore, Hiroshima, and the Maldives.
Bangkok Airways is 92.31 per cent owned by Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, with the remaining equity held by Sahakol Estate, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS), and other shareholders.
The airline employs more than 1,900 staff and also owns subsidiary airline Siem Reap Airways. It operates a mixed fleet of propeller and modern jet aircraft
The crash is the second the airline has had at Samui, 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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He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me
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