A Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 skidded off a runway in Bangkok after landing in torrential rains.
It’s monsoon season in Thailand, creating fierce storms that pummel the earth with concentrated spurts of rain. Thai Airways flight 679 was approaching Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok (BKK) from Guangzhou, China (CAN) on Monday night in the midst of such a storm.
Moments after touching down, the plane slid about 100 meters (328 meters) past it intended stopping point on the tarmac and right onto the grass nearby. 97 passengers and 18 crew members were onboard. Passengers evacuated the aircraft via inflatable slide.
Only one passengers reported injury: a sprained ankle. The rough landing blocked runway 19R at BKK, forcing its closure. As of Tuesday evening, the aircraft remains stuck in the mud.
You might recall a similar incident in 2013 (ironically on the same route). When that occurred, Thai Airways attempted to “cover up” the incident by painting the tail of the A330-300 black as well as Thai logo on the fuselage. No one was fooled and Thai Airways was humiliated, becoming the butt of all sorts of jokes. I don’t think Thai is going to repeat that mistake this time. Furthermore, that accident was caused by a faulty landing gear and injured 40 passengers, including 14 who had to be hospitalized.
Let’s look at the bright side. Yes, runways become more dangerous, just like roads, during bad weather. But even in the fiercest of storms, only one passenger sprained her ankle. Flying remains incredibly safe.