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Phuket Airport air-sea rescue exercise re-creates actual disaster

Phuket Airport air-sea rescue exercise re-creates actual disaster

PHUKET: Phuket International Airport this week conducted an air-sea rescue exercise as part of its annual emergency response training required under International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.

By The Phuket News

Friday 12 July 2019, 10:57AM

The exercised, held at at Nai Yang Beach at Sirinat National Park on Wednesday (July 10), simulated a twin-engined ATR 72 aircraft arriving from Haad Yai with 30 passengers and crew on board crash landing into the sea about 1.8km from shore amid heavy rain and strong wind storm conditions.

Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana was present to preside over the exercise, named “Phuket International Airport Emergency Plan Exercise: PEMEX 2019”

Also present was Phuket International Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo, from Airports of Thailand PCL, which operates the airport.

The exercise saw emergency teams working together to recover “victims” from the crash site by use of helicopter from the Special Aviation Group of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command based at Cape Panwa.

Also involved in the exercise were Phuket airport emergency-response medical teams, officers from the national emergency Narathorn Center, local Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officials, Sakhu Police and park rangers from Sirinath National Park.

“The purpose of the exercise was to create guidelines for effective and efficient action when disasters occur, and to practice coordination between government officials, airline staff, airport staff and businesses,” Phuket Airport GM Mr Thanee explained.

On Aug 31, 1987, Thai Airways Flight 365, a scheduled Boeing 737-200 flight from Hat Yai International Airport to Phuket International Airport, crashed into the sea some 15km from shore, killing all 83 people on board: 74 passengers and nine crew.

The accident, attributed to pilot error after confusion over another aircraft landing at the same time, occurred in good weather conditions soon after 3:30pm that day.

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