North Korean departure leaves five detained in Thailand

A cargo plane loaded with heavy weapons left Pyongyang, North Korea and had not a care in the world … until the crew needed to land for more fuel at Don Mueang airport in Thailand. This emergency stop, according to Thailand’s deputy prime minister, Suthep Thaungsuban, led to an inspection which unveiled missiles, firearms and other implements of mayhem and destruction — 40 tons in all. Apparently, there were plenty of rocket-propelled grenades on board.

According to AFP, Suthep said, “They declared that the goods on board the flight were oil drilling equipment but when we examined we found it was all weaponry.” Four passengers from Kazakhstan and one from Belarus have been detained.

Captain Montol Suchookhorn, a spokesman for the Thai Air Force, explained, “According to my information, the flight originated from North Korea. It was a cargo flight that requested to land at the civilian side of the airport.”

Prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was careful to note that this incident doesn’t have an impact on the country’s internal security: “This is a joint collaboration of intelligence. We received a tip-off.”

Don Mueang airport hasn’t closed over this incident.

[Photo by yeowatzup via Flickr]

Southwest and FedEx planes bump wings

A Southwest Airlines jet bound for Albuquerque clipped wings with a Fed Ex cargo jet Sunday at the Salt Lake City Airport. A spokesperson for Southwest said the jet was about to pull back from the gate when it was bumped by the cargo plane. The pilots had not yet started the engine when they felt the “jolt” of the impact, which sliced off a 6-foot section of the plane’s wingtip.

No one was injured, though there was some initial confusion as to what caused what one passenger said felt like “a mini-earthquake”. The passengers were able to move to another plane for take off; the affected jet was repaired and put back in service.

While on the ground collisions between planes are rare, they do happen. A different Southwest plane clipped another passenger jet with its wing back in March.