Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pilot error blamed for Thai crash

Alex Collins and Bethan Jones
Alex Collins and Bethan Jones were among 89 people who died

A report on a plane crash in Thailand in which two Welsh students were killed has blamed pilot error and fatigue.

Alex Collins, from Maesteg in Bridgend county, and his girlfriend Bethan Jones, from Porth in the Rhondda, were among more than 80 people who died.

The One-Two-Go jet crashed trying to land in bad weather at Phuket airport in September 2007.

A Thai civil aviation report said there had been a lack of coordination between the pilot and co-pilot.

It also pointed to a failure to follow standard operating procedure after an aborted landing, failure to operate cockpit equipment properly and a sudden change in weather conditions.

Last July, One-Two-Go planes were grounded for 30 days by the Thai authorities.

In April, the airline was added to the European Commission's blacklist of operators which are banned from the EU because of safety concerns.

The report urged that One-Two-Go intensifies flight and emergency training for its pilots and adjusts schedules so pilots and cabin staff get adequate rest.

Poor visibility

Other recommendations included upgrading safety management and encouraging personnel to report irregularities.

The report said that Airports of Thailand, a partly state-owned company that operates most of the country's airports, should expand and upgrade the runway at Phuket airport or improve landing systems that guide aircraft in poor visibility.

It also said the airport's layout should be altered to allow quicker access by fire and rescue teams.

The Welsh pair, both 22, were a few days into a round-the-world trip to celebrate their graduation.

They met while they were studying at Cardiff University and had been saving for and planning the trip for more than a year.

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