Monday, September 17, 2007

Crash Update

The death Toll seems to vary depending on the report. It is actually amazing that anyone survived this crash.

At least 91 dead in Thailand plane crash

Investigators searched the twisted and charred wreckage of a passenger flight today for clues why it crashed in stormy weather on the resort island of Phuket, killing at least 91 people, including 55 foreign tourists.

Searchers found the plane's two flight data recorders, or black boxes, but authorities said it was too early to say what caused yesterday's crash. Transport Minister Theera Haocharoen said the black boxes would be sent to the United States for analysis.

"Hopefully, we will learn in a few weeks the cause of accident," he said.

Officials have said weather was likely a factor. The budget One-Two-Go Airlines flight was carrying 123 passengers and seven crew members from the capital Bangkok to Phuket when it skidded off the runway in driving wind and rain. It then ran through a low retaining wall and split in two.

"The fire was throughout the airplane," Phuket Deputy Gov. Worraphot Ratsrimaa told The Bangkok Post. "We expect that at least 90 percent of the passengers died." He told The Associated Press that the dead included Irish, Israeli, Australian and British passengers, but that it was not immediately clear how many foreigners had died.

Survivor Nong Khaonuan told a Thai TV network that "nearly half the passengers were foreign tourists." There were no immediate reports of Americans on board. The network broadcast video of what it said were two foreigners being carried away after surviving the crash.

"I've flown on many airplanes before, and I can say there was something strange about our landing," Khaonuan said. "We seemed to drop down too fast."

Phuket, one of Thailand's most popular resort islands, is still recovering from the devastation of the 2004 tsunami. The gigantic waves and the earthquake that spawned them killed almost 230,000 people in parts of Asia.

Chaisak Angsuwan, director general of the Air Transport Authority of Thailand, said Flight OG269 from Bangkok's Don Muang airport attempted to land in heavy wind and rain, which made visibility poor.

"He decided to make a go-around, but the plane lost balance and crashed," Angsuwan told The Bangkok Post. "The plane then fell onto the runway and broke into two."