Thai Airways plane crashes

The following are significant events involving the airline or its subsidiares. The numbered events are those involving at least one airline passenger death where the aircraft flight had a direct or indirect role, and where at least one of the dead passengers was not a stowaway, hijacker, or saboteur. The following events cover the period from 1970 onwards, and includes events from Thai Airways International and Thai Airways Company. Thai Airways Company was merged into Thai Airways International in 1988.

  1. 27 April 1980; Thai Airways BAe 748; flight 321; near Bangkok: The aircraft lost altitude and crashed during approach about 8 miles (12.8 km) from the airport after entering an area of severe weather. All four crew members and 40 of the 49 passengers were killed.

  2. 15 April 1985; Thai Airways 737-200; HS-TBB; Phuket, Thailand: The aircraft hit high ground in darkness and was destroyed by the impact and subsequent fire. The crash killed all four passengers and seven crew members.

  3. 31 August 1987; Thai Airways 737-200; HS_TBC; light 365; Phuket, Thailand: While descending during a daylight approach in good weather, the crew lost control of the aircraft and crashed into sea, apparently due to a combination of errors by the flight crew and air traffic control. All of the nine crew members and 74 passengers were killed.

  4. 31 July 1992; Thai Airways International A310-300; HS-TID; flight 311; near Kathmandu, Nepal: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Kathmandu, Nepal. The aircraft had a controlled flight into terrain about 22.5 miles (36 km) from the airport after apparently using an incorrect procedure for a missed approach. All 14 crew and 99 passengers were killed.

  5. 11 December 1998; Thai Airways International A310-200; HS-TIA; flight 261; near Surat Thani, Thailand: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani, Thailand. During its third landing attempt, the aircraft crashed just outside the Surat Thani airport. There were 90 fatalities among the 132 passengers and 11 fatalities among the 14 crew members.

    3 March 2001; Thai Airways International 737-400; Bangkok, Thailand: The aircraft was destroyed by an explosion and fire that occurred shortly before the Prime Minister of Thailand and about 150 others were to board the flight. One flight attendant was killed by the explosion and fire. While early reports indicated that this 737 was destroyed by a bomb, subsequent investigation revealed that center wing fuel tank had exploded.

    According to an NTSB press release of 11 April 2001, the FBI was unable to find any trace of an explosive. The NTSB also stated in this press release that CVR recording from the recent explosion had features that were similar to recorded features of a Philippine Airlines 737-300 center wing fuel tank explosion in May 1990.

    This was not the only time that a center fuel tank exploded on a airliner in similar circumstances. Like this event, in the 17 July 1996 event involving TWA Flight 800 the air conditioning packs on the Thai aircraft had been in operation on the ground. These packs on both the 737 and 747 are located close to the center wing fuel tank.

    737 crashes
    Philippine Airlines crashes
    TWA crashes

    Note: Even though no passengers were killed and therefore not a fatal airline event, this mishap is included in this list because it involved the explosion of a fuel tank, an issue that had become a major safety concern after the 1996 explosion involving a TWA 747.

  6. 23 March 2003; Thai Airways International; en route Bangkok to Beijing: In the 18 December 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors of a study concluded that five people who were on a 15 March 2003 Air China flight from Hong Kong to Beijing died from SARS after most likely contracting the disease from an infected passenger on the same flight. Before dying, one of those five passengers was on a flight from Bangkok to Beijing on 23 March 2003, causing two other passengers to become infected. One of those passengers later died of SARS.

    Source: Lakshmanan, I.A.R, "Air China Flight 112: Tracking the Genesis of a Plague," Boston Globe, 18 May 2003, sec. 1A, p. 1.
    Plane crashes for selected airlines of Asia and Australasia
    Background information on SARS

Related Pages
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Plane crashes by Airline

Crashes by model
Crash rates by model
Plane crash rates by Model

Thai Airways plane crashes -- Revised: 29 January 2017