Thai airport reopens after fatal runway crash

Thai airport reopens after fatal runway crash

Samui airport in Thailand has resumed operations at 14:00 local time (09:00 GMT) today after the debris from the crashed Bangkok Airways aircraft was cleared from the single runway.

Transport deputy permanent secretary Chaisak Angkasuwan said it would take about four weeks for investigators to establish the cause of yesterday’s crash on Koh Samui.

Mr Chaisak said bad weather, possible human error or a defective engine part would all have to be taken into consideration. Even then a further investigation would be necessary.

Investigators finished collecting evidence at the site before noon on Wednesday, he said.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee will send the black box flight recorder from the crashed plane for decoding in France, where the ATR 72 aircraft was manufactured.

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The accident killed the pilot and injured 12 people. Most of the injured were European tourists who had been holidaying in Krabi.

The crash occured in severe weather and high winds, with the aircraft veering off the runway and crashing into a disused control tower.

The body of chief pilot Chartchai Pansuwan, 58, was flown to Bangkok for religious ceremonies on Wednesday morning.

Thanawat Premruedee, the co-pilot who was also injured, was also transferred to Bangkok and admitted to Bangkok Hospital for further treatment.

Dr Chatree Duangnet of Bangkok Hospital said the co-pilot’s injuries were severe. He had broken bones, one of which penetrated his lung.

Bangkok Airways’ PG 100 was the first flight, leaving Koh Samui at 14:00.