Phuket airport escalators declared safe after alarming accident at Don Mueang

Photo by PR Phuket.

Phuket International Airport recently completed safety checks on all escalators, following a disturbing accident at Don Mueang Airport. The General Manager of the Phuket branch of the Airports of Thailand (AoT Phuket), Monchai Tanode, confirmed that the airport’s 31 escalators and 27 elevators had been thoroughly inspected by certified technicians, and found to be safe for public use.

In an unfortunate incident on Thursday, a woman tragically lost her leg after falling on a moving walkway at Don Mueang Airport. Both Don Mueang and Phuket International Airport come under the AoT’s jurisdiction. Responding rapidly after the mishap, the AoT sought a “strict inspection” from the manufacturer of their escalators and elevators, The Phuket News reported.

Monchai further detailed that this special safety check was carried out outside the scheduled service timeframe, despite the regular inspections the escalators underwent in February.

According to a post-inspection report released by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) today, “Experts from a private company have confirmed that all escalators within Phuket Airport have been replaced with new models. The safety of the systems fully complies with the safety regulations specified by the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT).” The report further reassured the public that “if an object enters the mechanism, the escalator’s safety system will immediately stop the operation of the escalator.”

In the wake of the accident at Don Mueang, the EIT suggested the woman’s suitcase wheel could have broken the travellator’s comb. The broken section then apparently slipped under the platform, creating a gap large enough for the woman’s leg to get trapped.

Citing Boonpong Kijwatanachai, advisor to the EIT’s mechanical engineering committee, Bangkok Post reported that the sensor system at the location remained functional, meaning the system was working normally when the incident occurred. According to Boonpong, Don Mueang’s system, which is checked daily by maintenance staff before operation, is intact and adheres to standard maintenance protocols.

Explicit advice on how to prevent such incidents involving luggage was not provided by Boonpong. However, he cautioned against using mobile phones on both escalators and travellators, and urged people not to be overly apprehensive of such systems since they comply with either the “EN115 standard” or “European standards.”

Meanwhile, a police investigation into the unfortunate incident, colloquially referred to as the ‘walkway horror,’ is actively in progress. All key parties are being interviewed whilst police await forensic test results, per Don Mueang Police Col. Adirek Tongkeamkeaw’s orders.

Adirek also stated that the police intend to investigate the third-party company providing maintenance service for the travellator system, but could not confirm when this would begin.

Presently, the injured woman is being cared for in the intensive care unit at Bumrungrad International Hospital. Her son voiced his worry about her psychological adjustment to life after the loss of a limb, also declaring that a team of psychiatrists has been enlisted to offer preliminary support to his mother.

Phuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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