Seven cheat death in Pattaya plane crash
This Britten-Norman BNA2 (twin engine) Islander crashed shortly after takeoff in a cassava field outside Pattaya Airfield near Phoenix Golf Club. Seven people, including the pilot, escaped with minor injuries.
Pol. Lt Col Somchai Yodsombat from the Banglamung police station reported that the plane was nearly broken in half, with one of the engines from the left side almost protruding into the cabin. Pieces of wreckage were scattered around the area with the front of the plane and cockpit crushed from the impact.
The crash occurred in the Chatngaew area of Huay Yai District.
The pilot and the passengers were taken to the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital by members of the local community.
Pattaya resident Patrick van den Berghe, aka Flying Frog, wasn't flying on Tuesday when he was wheeled out of the hospital. Patrick was all smiles, however, as he escaped with minor injuries.
The aircraft belonged to Skydive Thailand, which takes passengers for skydiving. The plane had an 8-seat capacity.
At approximately 1 p.m. the plane took off from Pattaya Airport and had been airborne for 2 minutes. Flying in the area of Chatngaew, approximately 1.5 kilometers from the airport, the aircraft ran into difficulties and one of the engines cut out, causing the pilot to initiate a crash landing.
Manote Sukjaroen, a resident in the Huay Yai area said that just prior to the crash they had heard the sound of the plane take off from the airport as per normal, as there are usually around 3 trips per day. This was to be the second run of the day, but approximately 2 minutes after takeoff they heard one of the engines cut out. Shortly after, a loud crash brought residents running out to investigate.
Ms. Lorna Martin was banged up but otherwise ok after her scary ordeal.
Reporters also visited the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, where the injured were taken for treatment. Fortunately the seven people, including the pilot escaped serious injury and only had relatively minor cut and bruises.
The list of injured include the pilot, Asadawut Srirunsun, Patrick Van den Berghe (aka Flying Frog), Steve Bavington, Jukka Holtinen, Paul Moran, Paul Dinessen and Ms. Lorna Martin. All were treated for cuts and abrasions and released from hospital.
At press time, the initial reports suggest engine failure; however, commercial aviation inspectors are investigating the cause of the crash.
Police, aviation inspectors and the owners of the aircraft inspect the site of the crash. Luckily, all 7 on board, including the pilot, escaped with relatively minor injuries.
Despite such incidents, flying is still much safer than driving on the road, particularly in Thailand.
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