A passenger plane heading to one of Thailand's leading tourist destinations crashed Sunday as it tried to land in heavy rain, splitting in two as it was engulfed in flames, officials said. As many as 100 people were feared dead.
There were 123 mostly foreign passengers and five crew members on the plane, One-To-Go Airlines flight OG269 from Bangkok to Phuket, Thai television station TITV reported.
Phuket's Deputy Governor Worapot Ratthaseema told The Associated Press that as many as 100 were killed in the crash of the local budget airline, based on assessments that as few as 20 appeared to have made it out of the wreck alive.
"I believe 90 percent or about 100 passengers are fear dead," Worapot said, adding that Phuket airport in southern Thailand had been temporarily closed.
Chaisak Angsuwan, director general of the Air Transport Authority of Thailand. said the plane crashed in heavy rain and then split in two. It skidded off the runaway and crashed into a wooded area.
"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."
Anchalee Wanitthepphabutr, chief of Phuket's provincial administrative authority, said on TITV that the plane was in flames. The dead and injured were being taken from the plane to several hospitals in Phuket, Anchalee said.
Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2007, 09:34
Maj. Gen. Deecha Butnamphet, police chief in Phuket, said on TITV that "we believe that there are many people who are dead. We are taking the dead and injured out from the scene."
One-Two-Go, a budget airline, is owned by Orient Thai Airways.