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Tuesday 2 August 2022

Air emergency ends with passengers stranded in the dark

Imagine being on a flight that skids off the runway when trying to land in heavy rain.

Scary enough.

Then imagine being kept on board the plane for an hour after the captain shuts down the engines, which in turn switches off the air conditioning and lights in the cabin.

Imagine being kept on board the dark plane for an hour, with some passengers complaining of difficulty breathing, because the "international" airport is only able to provide two vans to take passengers to the terminal.

That is what we'd call a cock-up.

All this happened on Sunday night at Mae Fah Luang International Airport in Chiang Rai, the ThaiInquirer website reported.

The airline involved was budget carrier Nok Air and there were a reported 164 passengers and six crew on board.

Passenger Warangkhana Wongchai posted on Facebook that passengers were told by cabin crew that protocols meant passengers are not allowed to stand on the runway - and as it was raining passengers were required to remain on board until airport vans arrived.

"The passenger evacuation plan is very bad; very slow," she said.

So passengers waited over an hour on board before being evacuated on emergency slides!

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has said it will investigate.

Nok Air said in a statement on Monday that the passengers were kept on the plane because they were unable to connect the stairs to the exits of the plane and, in the end, they opted to use the emergency slides instead.

The Phuket News reported the plane involved was a Boeing 737-800 which had flown from Bangkok's Don Meaung Airport.

No one was injured in the incident but Chiang Rai Airport remains closed until Wednesday. The plane's landing gear was reportedly damaged.  

Photo: Warangkhana Wongchai/Facebook

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