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Phuket Gazette World News: Asiana Air crash unravels; China stays corruption death sentence; Egypt rumbles; Brazil referee decapitated; Pope prays for humble cars; Five dead in Canada train disaster

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Phuket Gazette World News: Asiana Air crash unravels; China stays corruption death sentence; Egypt rumbles; Brazil referee decapitated; Pope prays for humble cars; Five dead in Canada train disaster | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Crew tried to abort landing before San Francisco air crash
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed at San Francisco’s airport on Saturday, leaving two teenage Chinese students dead and more than 180 people injured.

The aircraft was travelling “significantly below” its intended speed and its crew tried to abort the landing just seconds before it hit the seawall in front of the runway, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday.

Information collected from the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder indicated that there were no signs of trouble until seven seconds before impact, when the crew tried to accelerate, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said at a news conference at the airport.

A stall warning sounded four seconds before impact, and the crew tried to abort the landing and initiate what’s known as a “go around” manoeuvre just 1.5 seconds before crashing, Hersman said.

“Air speed was significantly below the target airspeed,” she said.

Chinese student may have been run over by emergency vehicle

An emergency vehicle rushing to the scene of the crash may have run over one of the two teenage Chinese girls killed in the incident, the local fire department said on Sunday.

San Francisco’s medical examiner is now conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of the girl’s death, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

“One of the deceased did have injuries consistent with those of having been run over by a vehicle,” Talmadge said. “Many agencies were on the field yesterday.”

Hersman said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the crash. The data recorders corroborated witness accounts and an amateur video, obtained by CNN, that indicated the plane came in too low, lifted its nose in an attempt to gain altitude, and then bounced along the tarmac after the rear of the aircraft hit a seawall at the approach to the runway.

Too early to determine cause of crash

Asked whether the information reviewed by the NTSB showed pilot error in the crash, Hersman did not answer directly.

“What I will tell you is that the NTSB conducts very thorough investigations. We will not reach a determination of probable cause in the first few days that we’re on an accident scene,” she told reporters.

Asiana said mechanical failure did not appear to be a factor in the crash. Hersman confirmed that a part of the airport’s instrument-landing system was offline on Saturday but cautioned against drawing conclusions from that, noting that the so-called glide slope system was not essential to safe operations in good weather. She said it was a clear day with good visibility.

Six people remained in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital on Sunday, including one girl, a hospital spokeswoman said, and 13 others were in less serious condition. Stanford Hospital said late on Saturday that three people were in critical condition and 10 in serious condition there.

At least five people were still being treated at other area hospitals on Sunday morning.

Some of the injured at San Francisco General suffered spinal fractures, including paralysis, and others sustained head trauma and abdominal injuries, according to Margaret Knudson, chief of surgery at the hospital.

At least two patients also suffered “severe road rash suggesting they were dragged,” Knudson said. The injured patients who were able to talk said they were all sitting in the back of the plane, Knudson said.

The plane was coming in from Seoul when witnesses said its tail appeared to hit the approach area of a runway that juts into San Francisco Bay.

The impact knocked off the plane’s tail and the aircraft appeared to bounce violently, scattering a trail of debris and spinning before coming to rest on the tarmac.

Benjamin Levy, a 39-year-old venture capitalist from San Francisco who sat in a window seat near one of the wings, said the flight crew gave “no indication whatsoever” that there was any problem with the landing moments before the aircraft struck the runway.

Following the initial collision, “we’re going back up and I’m thinking maybe we’re taking off again. We didn’t and we went back pretty hard and bounced,” he told reporters after being released from San Francisco General.

“It’s like a Six Flags show,” he said, referring to a theme park. “We were skipping on the runway.”

Serious interior damage

Pictures taken by survivors showed passengers hurrying out of the wrecked plane, some on evacuation slides. Thick smoke billowed from the fuselage and TV footage later showed the aircraft gutted and blackened by fire. Much of its roof was gone.

Interior damage to the plane also was extreme, Hersman said on CNN.

“You can see the devastation from the outside of the aircraft, the burn-through, the damage to the external fuselage,” she said. “But what you can’t see is the damage internally. That is really striking.”

The dead were identified as Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia, both 16-year-old girls and described as Chinese nationals who are students, Asiana Airlines said. They had been seated at the rear of the aircraft, according to government officials in Seoul and Asiana, and were found outside the airplane.

The crash was the first fatal accident involving the Boeing 777, a popular long-range jet that has been in service since 1995. It was the first fatal commercial airline accident in the United States since a regional plane operated by Colgan Air crashed in New York in 2009.

“For now, we acknowledge that there were no problems caused by the 777-200 plane or (its) engines,” Yoon Young-doo, the president and CEO of the airline, told reporters on Sunday at the company headquarters on the outskirts of Seoul.

Asiana on Sunday said the flight, which originated in Shanghai, had carried 291 passengers and 16 crew members. The passengers included 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans, 64 U.S. citizens, three Indians, three Canadians, one French, one Vietnamese and one Japanese citizen.

Vedpal Singh, a native of India, was on board the flight along with his wife and son when the aircraft struck the landing strip.

“Your instincts take over. You don’t know what’s going on,” said Singh, who had his arm in a sling as he walked through the airport’s international terminal and told reporters he had suffered a fractured collar bone.

Asiana, South Korea’s junior carrier, has had two other fatal crashes in its 25-year history.

A senior Asiana official said the pilot was Lee Jeong-min, a veteran pilot who has spent his career with the airline. He was among four pilots on the plane who rotated on two-person shifts during the 10-hour flight, the official said.

Former China rail minister gets suspended death sentence for corruption
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: China gave former railways minister Liu Zhijun a suspended death sentence for bribery and abuse of power, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday, in a case seen as a test of President Xi Jinping’s resolve to crack down on pervasive graft.

Liu was formally charged in April with abuse of power, taking bribes and malpractice, conduct that led to “huge losses” of public assets, state media said when his trial began at a Beijing court

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Drugs

2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Police found more than 2 million methamphetamine pills in a truck parked at petrol station at Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Noy district. Police are still looking for the driver.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau alerted local police about a truck in the area suspected of trafficking drugs. Police spotted a truck that matched the description and saw it turning in to a petrol station.

Police followed, but by the time they reached the vehicle, it was parked and the driver was no where in sight. Officers suspect the driver fled the scene.

The truck had a number of cardboard boxes containing thousands of methamphetamine pills. Police say all together they seized 2,002,000 pills. They also found a bank deposit passbook, 2 identification cards and other documents. The evidence was passed on to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau who are now working on the case.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hua Hin

Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Class is cancelled for a week at 2 schools after some students reported a high fever. School officials discovered many Burmese students and parents have been crossing the Thai-Myanmar border. The Thai government recently told immigration police to patrol the country’s natural borders such as along jungles and rivers after Myanmar reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

The 2 Prachuap Khiri Khan schools – Anun School and Wang Ta Krai School – will be closed until at least September 7. Some of the students need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Public health officials have taken fluid samples to test for Covid-19. The results have not yet been released at this stage.

The province is on the Malay peninsula and borders Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region. The community has a large Burmese population. Out of the 576 students at Anun School, 300 of them are migrants. Out of the 310 students at the Wang Ta Krai School, 45 of them are migrants.

When students from the Anun School students did not show up in class due to high fever, school officials looked into their case and learned that their families had recently returned from areas around the Thai-Myanmar border. Wang Ta Krai School has not reported any suspected cases.

Most of the cases in the recent spike in Myanmar involve the western Rhakine state, on the other side of Myanmar from the Thai border.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes

The Thaiger

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Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai VietJet adds a BKK-Nakhon Si Thammarat flight to their schedule

Whilst much of the world waits to get back into Thailand, the local airlines are starting to flex their domestic muscles and add new routes.

Thai AirAsia is launching 2 new routes from Chiang Mai, starting yesterday, offering a one-way fare for as low as 790 baht on flights to Hua Hin, and Udon Thani in the northeast. The cheapie fares will only run until August 16, or when they’re booked out. The fares will cover travel from today up to March 26 next year.

Thai Air Asia is attempting to bump up its direct domestic travel from Chiang Mai that will avoid doing a stop-over in Bangkok for these new routes.

The new flight from Chiang Mai to the coastal town of Hua Hin is targeting Thais and expats living in the north who want a seaside break and couldn’t be bothered sitting in a bus for 24 hours.

The bi-weekly flights depart every Friday and Sunday which gives travellers at both ends of the route an excuse for weekend travel. Thai Air Asia are now servicing 30 domestic routes that started again in May when Thai-registered airlines restarted limited domestic services.

But the locally-based airlines are still not allowed to fly internationally, and, based on comments from the TAT, that may not happen until early 2021. A deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said last Friday there was “no signs to show international tourism would reopen this year and even Chinese New Year in February 2021 was now in jeopardy… It is not a rosy picture.”

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

 

Meanwhile Thai Vietjet has started a new service from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s Deep South.

The first flight landed over the weekend to a water salute welcome at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport. Thai Vietjet’s latest service into southern Thailand operates daily but they’re hoping to ramp up to four flights a day in October.

A promotional fare of just 199 baht, excluding tax and fees, is on sale at www.vietjetair.com.

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: TTRWeekly

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