Storm forces flights to turn back

PHUKET: Driving rain and strong winds forced several scheduled flights to abort their landings at Phuket International Airport this morning.

An officer at Phuket International Airport, who spoke to the Gazette on condition of anonymity, said that the strong winds forced pilots of four flights to abort their landings at the airport because they were not confident that it was safe to land.

“If the wind is stronger than 20 knots that means [aircraft] should not land because it is unsafe,” the officer said.

However, at 2 pm, the officer said that the storm had passed and that it was once again safe for aircraft to land.

A passenger on Thai Airways flight TG 921, a Boeing 747 scheduled to land in Phuket at 9:20 am, told the Gazette that the pilot had announced that he had decided to abort landing after the first attempt was foiled by the driving rain and the second attempt by strong winds. The flight returned to Bangkok.

Kalayapha Panich, Thai Airways’ Phuket-based District Sales Manager for Upper-Southern Thailand, said that flight TG 921 returned later to Phuket, landing at 1:50 pm.

The Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast), which is located near the airport, issued a warning early this morning of impending widespread thundershowers and isolated heavy rain along the southwest coast, with winds gusting from 20 to 45kmh.

All ships were warned to proceed with caution and operators of small boats were urged to stay ashore.

Phuket News
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