CAAT investigating Nok Air accident, passengers complain about time taken to leave aircraft
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said in a press release yesterday (Monday) that it has summoned officials and pilots of Nok Air and officials of Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai airport to provide an explanation of the incident tomorrow.
The pilot insists that he complied strictly with the emergency evacuation checklist, said the CAAT, adding that airport fire trucks arrived at the plane within a minute of being alerted that the plane had skidded off the runway.
The CAAT was also told by airport officials that they normally use an aerobridge to move passengers from an aircraft to the passenger terminal, so there are only a limited number of buses available to transfer passengers.
No one was hurt in the incident, but there were complaints from some passengers that the pilot had kept them on the plane for about an hour after the accident. The CAAT said that the decision to evacuate passengers rests with the pilot, depending on the situation.
If there is a fire, smoke or other emergency situation, which may endanger the passengers, it said that the pilot will order an emergency evacuation. If, however, the pilot feels that he or she has the situation under control and there is no danger to the passengers, or if there are other contributory factors, such darkness, the plane is on unsafe ground or if rescue services have not arrived, the pilot can decide not to evacuate passengers immediately.
The Royal Thai Force (RTAF), meanwhile, is assisting Nok Air to move its grounded plane, which is blocking the runway at Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai international airport. The runaway is expected to reopen this Thursday.
The RTAF sent 120 steel plates and men, from the 41st air wing in Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, last night (Monday), in response to request from Airports of Thailand (AOT).
The Boeing 737-800, carrying 164 passengers and 6 crew, arrived from Bangkok on Saturday night at about 9pm. As it was taxiing towards the apron in heavy rain, the plane skidded off the runway. The plane’s landing gear broke and became embedded in the ground next to the runway.