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Robert Borland, the Phuket expat who survived the 2007 crash

Phuket Airport 'Crash' To Stir Tragic Memories

Monday, September 7, 2009
A FULL-SCALE simulation of an air crash will take place at Phuket Airport on Tuesday, September 15, one day short of the second anniversary of the real crash of a holiday flight.

The Director of Phuket Airport, Wing Commander Prathuang Somkom, said today that the response to the 2007 downing of the One-Two-Go flight from Bangkok ''had not been 100 percent.''

This is the first time a senior official has made such an admission.

A summary of the causes of the crash that killed 90 passengers and crew has been released, but the detailed report by investigators continues to be be held back.

A spokesperson for the Department of Civil Aviation told Phuketwan today that the full official report would never be released.

Forty people survived the 2007 crash with burns and other injuries, and there was criticism of the reaction time of rescuers as well as pilot training.

Australian expat and Phuket resident Robert Borland, who suffered severe burns in the crash, said today he thought it was a good idea to have these kinds of practices.

''I am not sure whether the timing is appropriate, though,'' he said. ''Some people may not wish to be reminded of what happened.''

Mr Borland still wears a ''Superman'' bodysuit to help his scars heal but flies regularly and is philosophical these days looking back on the tragedy.

''Statistics show there is one incident every five million fights,'' he said. ''It was unfortunate.

''I am ok in the air now, but always a little bit more nervous coming back to Phuket.''

In next Tuesday's crash simulation, Wing Commander Prathuang said there would be 70 passengers involved in the mishap at 9am.

Access to the airport along the main road may be hampered by ambulances and other vehicles carrying the ''injured'' to seek medical help.

Local hospitals, tourist police, marine police, the navy and all airlines that fly to Phuket will be involved or have observers present.

The ''crash'' will be dealt with by 50 rescue crew who will man a fire truck and other vehicles.

''To carry out a rescue properly, the airport team should be on the scene within three minutes,'' Wing Commander Prathuang said.

''We need these full-scale events every two years,'' he said, ''with smaller simulations each year in between.''

The Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob, will oversee the ''crash'' next Tuesday. He expects some diplomats will also want to observe proceedings.

The summary of the report of the 2007 crash blamed the pilot for failing to react appropriately as the One-Two-Go flight was pushed downwards towards the tarmac by a powerful squall.

Wreckage of the plane remains under a tarpaulin in the open at Phuket airport, where passengers can see it.

A Bangkok Airways flight from Krabi crashed into a disused control tower at Samui Airport in similar weather conditions on August 4, killing the pilot and injuring the copilot and front-of-plane passengers.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Oh, that full crash report will be released all right, maybe not by Thai DCA but by USA NTSB and should be available on September 16, 2009.

Posted by Christy K. on September 7, 2009 10:19

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Your efforts have not gone unnoticed Christy. Thank you!

Posted by VFaye on September 7, 2009 15:14

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Perhaps on this anniversary, a new memorial to the victims of this air-crash could be established, to replace the memorial spirit house that was placed close to the plane wreckage last year.

That memorial was dedicated by Buddhist monks to the victims and this service reported by local and national TV media.

Unfortunately, the spirit house, wreaths and offerings all mysteriously disappeared in February 2009.

I am aware of relations and friends of plane crash victims who are currently in Phuket and wish to visit this memorial.

Why was it removed, and by whom?

Posted by Simon on September 14, 2009 19:59


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