Pilot dead after Bangkok flight crashes into tower

An estimated 10 people were hospitalized when a Bangkok Airways flight landed in rainy conditions, skidded off the runway and crashed into the air traffic control tower. The pilot was killed in the accident, which occurred at Samui airport in Thailand. Sixty-eight passengers were aboard the ATR72 twin-turboprop plane — like the one in the image to the right — along with two pilots and two crew members. Four foreign tourists – two British, two Dutch – were among the injured.

The air traffic control tower hit in the crash was not in use, according to a report by MSNBC. Nonetheless, Samui airport was closed, with at least one Thai Airways flight canceled.

UPDATE: Only seven people were hospitalized as a result of this accident, one of whom is the co-pilot. Other than the unfortunate death of the pilot (Chartchai Pansuwan), the most severe injury was broken legs.

Though the airline is not speculating on the cause of the crash, they say wind and rain may have played a part, and that the pilot had 19 years of experience. See the video below for some footage of the incident.

UPDATE 2: According to one of the passengers, Mirella Gastaldi, upon landing, the plane “was going too fast, it was not normal, it didn’t brake. It was going too fast and a bit to the side. It all happened so fast, I realized we had crashed because I had two seats on top of me.


Breaking: Air France Airbus A330 disappears outside of Brazil

An Airbus A330-200 carrying over 200 passengers lost radar contact off the coast of Brazil late last night. The flight was apparently reporting electrical problems experienced during turbulence on its route between Rio de Janeiro and Charles de Gaulle Paris.

Hope is still standing for some reemergence of the aircraft, although it has been several hours since contact was lost. In addition, the Brazilian Air Force has been deployed to the last sight of contact in order to search for any sings of the aircraft.

If AF447 did go down, this would be the first large jet crash in over seven years. We’ll keep you updated on the story

Airline Safety Info on the Web

For those of us venturing outside the warm embrace of the big carriers, the web has a bit of info about individual airline’s safety records.

For example, the FAA has a list of carriers that meet it’s standards here. It lists only those carriers allowed to fly to the U.S.

More comprehensive is the International Air Transport Association’s cite, listing those with a passing grade on their audit of 251 members. You can order the audit results via email.

The E.U. maintains a nice PDF list of airlines banned from European skies here. Interestingly, about half are based in Congo.

For more info, today’s NY Times has an article here which served as the source for these links above.