BANGKOK, Sep 16 (Reuters) A budget Thai airliner carrying 123 passengers and several crew today crashed on landing at the resort island of Phuket in driving rain, killing as many as 90 per cent of people on board, Phuket's deputy governor said.
''The casualties should be higher than 90 per cent. I'm at the airport and the plane is still smoking,'' Vorapot Rajsima told Channel 9 television.
Chaisak Chai-arkad, a senior airport official in Bangkok, told Thai radio that the One-Two-Go flight from Bangkok had broken in two on impact. TV images showed a crumpled fuselage.
''The first part of the plane is dug into the ground. The tail section is stuck on the runway,'' he told Thai radio.
Amid confusion about the number of killed, Phuket's mayor, Anchalee Vanich Thepabutr, said that she had seen more than 50 bodies taken from the wreckage and moved to the terminal's cargo buildings.
However, Anchalee said 20 survivors had been taken to hospital.
The flight to the Andaman sea paradise isle, which was hit by the Dec. 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, was known to be carrying foreign holiday-makers.
One radio station said seven foreign survivors were among those taken to nearby hospitals.
REUTERS SYU BD1711