Pilot knew about the wind threat: Thai air crash

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Bangkok, Sep18: The Indonesian pilot of a budget airliner that crashed on the Thai resort island of Phuket tried to land despite being warned of windshear threats, a Thai air traffic control official today said.

Two other pilots had reported dramatic changes in wind speed and direction as they landed minutes before the doomed One-Two-Go flight, which crashed in a fierce monsoon storm, killing 89 people.

''The pilot definitely knew about the windshear because he was on the same radio frequency as the previous two planes,'' Kamtorn Sirikorn, a senior executive at air traffic controller Aerothai, told Reuters.

''The control tower repeated the conditions to him and he acknowledged them just before the landing. The tape I listened to verified this,'' he said, referring to the communications between the control tower and the plane.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 veered off the runway before smashing into a wooded embankment and bursting into flames. Most of the dead were foreign tourists.

The Indonesian flight captain and his Thai co-pilot were both killed, but 41 people survived a crash likely to raise more safety questions about the budget carriers that have sprung up across Asia in the last decade.

''We did not ask him to abort the landing because it was not our job to do so. We would advise against landing only if the runway was not clear or there was no visibility,'' he said.

There have been reports that the pilot could not see the airstrip, but Kamtorn said visibility was 4 km (2.5 miles), ''which was quite sufficient for a safe landing and for the pilot to see the runway''.


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