Irish passengers recall terror of Thai plane crash

A YOUNG Irish woman has described how she and her friends were lucky to escape serious harm when freak weather conditions caused a Thai plane to crash land, injuring passengers and killing the pilot.

The simple 35-minute plane journey turned into a nightmare for Aoife Creamer, 25, her sister Orlagh, 20, both from Rush, and Lesley Dowdall, 23, from Swords, Dublin.

Ms Creamer recalled how a shock storm turned their arrival at an exotic island resort into a moment of terror in which they fled from the crashed aircraft.

The harrowing experience happened on Bangkok Airways flight PG266 on Tuesday afternoon as the plane was flying from the southern Thai resort of Krabi to the tourist island of Koh Samui.

“The plane took off in sort of rain and wind, a little bit of turbulence, nothing that we wouldn’t have experienced before on another regular flight,” Ms Creamer said.

But just half an hour later, the three girls realised the pilot was having difficulty landing the plane.

The Irish primary school teacher added: “The winds must have been strong. So the plane kind of tilted from left to right as if it was on a balance and it couldn’t get a balance right. When we landed on the runway, the plane started to skid, almost like a car would on wet tarmac.

“And we slipped from left to right, left to right and then onto the grass on the left-hand side where we proceeded another bit and crashed into the control tower and fire station.”

The ATR-72 aircraft, carrying 72 people, including two pilots and two crew, crashed head on into the tower.

Ms Creamer added: “We all held hands and braced ourselves for the impact.

“The whole cockpit was basically gone on impact. We were on the left-hand side on row 10 and the first three rows were completely wiped out,” said the Irish traveller.

Details continued to emerge about the crash yesterday with the Thai Prime Minister saying a sudden wind looked like the cause of the incident.

It is thought up to 42 people were injured in the crash.

Bangkok Airways said the pilot who died had worked with the airline for 19 years, and had flown that model of aircraft for 14 years.

Ms Creamer described how she, her sister and their friend jumped out of the plane when it crashed.

“There was a small ladder but because the plane was being doused in foam, it was really slippy. Everyone was in a panic to get off. I said jump down, jump down, you’ll be fine...

“Once we got off the plane, people were directing us up the runway. So we just ran up the runway, further away from the plane.

“Obviously we were still afraid there was going to be an explosion at that stage,” she said.

Ms Creamer said several passengers in seats close to her were taken to intensive care. She suffered bruising, her sister hurt her knee and Ms Dowdall sprained a wrist.

It is thought all three friends intend br>cutting their trip short and returning home.

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