CAAT to investigate Nok Air captain’s decision to delay evacuation after crash

Alec Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said that the captain of a Nok Air Boeing 737 aircraft that slid off the runway at Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI) will be summoned to explain why passengers were held on board for about an hour after the incident in northern Thailand.  

The captain will be required to defend his actions and explain why the evacuation of 164 passengers and six crew members was not immediately initiated during the incident.  

“The rationale behind the decision is what the CAAT needs to hear from the captain,” CAAT director-general Suttipong Kongpool was cited as saying by the Bangkok Post on August 2, 2022. “The captain is the one who makes the decision on evacuation after assessing the situation, including external factors.”  

The incident occurred when the jet, registered HS-DBR, was performing daily scheduled flight DD-108 between Bangkok (DMK) and Chian Rai (CEI) on July 30, 2022. Due to heavy rain, the plane slipped on landing, but the flight crew managed to stop the jet after its wheels went over the paved runway.   

Typically, in the event of an incident of this kind, passenger evacuation should begin immediately, so all passengers are able to leave the plane within 90 seconds. But on this occasion, the chief pilot decided differently.  

The captain allegedly turned off both engines and warned passengers to remain on board until ground transport arrived to take the travelers to the airport’s terminal. It then took around an hour for the first 20 passengers to leave the plane by bus. However, the remaining travelers were told to stay seated in the cabin even though they lacked fresh air owing to the aircraft systems having been switched off.

It was only after the remaining passengers insisted on leaving the plane, that the captain permitted one of the eight emergency exits to be opened, so passengers could evacuate the jet via an inflated slide, witnesses claimed, reported aby the Bangkok Post.  

On July 31, 2022, the day after the incident, the CAAT confirmed that the aircraft had suffered substantial damage and announced that it had launched a detailed investigation.


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