YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Wind shear may be cause of Thai crash

September 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

PHUKET, THAILAND — A senior aviation official said Monday that the pilot of a passenger plane that crashed while landing at Thailand's resort island of Phuket, killing 89 people, had been warned of a treacherous wind shear at the airport but decided to land anyway.

Wind shear -- a sudden change in wind speed or direction in an aircraft's flight path -- can destabilize a plane because pilots compensate for the condition, which can then suddenly disappear and put the aircraft out of control.

There were 123 passengers and seven crew members aboard One-Two-Go Airlines flight OG269 when it crashed Sunday while apparently trying to abort a landing.

The official death toll of 89 was one lower than some reports on the day of the crash. The pilot and copilot were among the five crew members killed. The dead came from at least 10 countries: the U.S., Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Sweden and Thailand. An accurate account was not available because some bodies had not been identified.

According to a transcript of the conversation between the control tower and the plane, ground officials informed the Indonesian pilot, Arief Mulyadi, about wind shear but he decided to land anyway, the Air Transport Department's director general, Chaisak Angsuwan, said on the Nation TV channel.

"It is possible that the plane crash was caused by wind shear," Kajit Habnanonda, president of Orient-Thai Airlines, which owns One-Two-Go, said earlier, adding that heavy rains could have contributed to the plane skidding off the runway.

Transport Minister Theera Haocharoen cautioned that it was still too early to know what caused the crash of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82.

"The officials have found the black boxes and will send them for analysis to the United States," he said.

Los Angeles Times Articles