Thai Airways skids off runway; 14 passengers hurt
A Thai Airways plane carrying more than 280 people skidded off the runway while landing at Bangkok's main airport, injuring 14 passengers, the airline said Monday.
After the accident, workers on a crane blacked out the Thai Airways logo on the tail and body of the aircraft, as part of an effort to protect its image according to Star Alliance guidelines, an official said. It was the second mishap in less than two weeks for Thailand's national carrier.
The Airbus A330-300 that departed from Guangzhou, China, had a "glitch" in its wheel base while landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport late Sunday, the airline said. Photos taken after the incident showed deep furrows from skid marks in a grassy area off the runway leading to the stalled aircraft, resting with its nose down and emergency slides inflated.
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"After touchdown at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the landing gear malfunctioned and caused the aircraft to skid off the runway. Sparks were noticed from the vicinity of the right landing gear near the engine; the matter is under investigation," Thai Airways President Sorajak Kasemsuvan said in a statement Monday.
"The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft emergency exits," he said.
Most of the injuries occurred as passengers evacuated the aircraft, the statement said.
The aircraft was carrying 288 passengers and 14 crew members. The airline said on itsTwitter account that the 14 injured passengers were sent to hospitals.
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Officials said the runway at Suvarnabhumi Airport will be temporarily closed.
Thai Airways official Smud Poom-On said that "blurring the logo" after an accident was a recommendation from Star Alliance known as the "crisis communication rule," meant to protect the image of both the airline and other members of Star Alliance.
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The incident occurred less than two weeks after 20 passengers were injured when a Thai Airways Airbus A380 hit severe turbulence as it was descending to Hong Kong's airport.