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Loose bolts led to horrific accident at Don Mueang Airport: Academic


A KASETSART University academic said the accident at Don Mueang Airport whereby a female passenger’s left leg was severed till the knee after it was swallowed by a moving walkway was caused by loose bolts holding down a metal plate at the end of the conveyor belt, Naewna and Matichon newspapers said today (July 7).

At around 8.30 a.m. on June 29  the unidentified 57-year-old female passenger who was travelling to Nakhon Si Thammarat was proceeding through the Southern Corridor between piers 4-5 in Terminal 2 when hit by the accident.

Dr. Weerachai Phutdhawong, a professor at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in a Facebook post that a meeting was held about this incident at Don Mueang Airport yesterday with 80% progress made and in a nutshell a conclusion was reached that it was an accident.

Of the four bolts meant to hold down the plate at the end of the travelator, those in A, B and C positions were loose with only the one in D position keeping it in place. Despite the plate dangling in this manner it took 10 seconds before the safety switch stopped the moving walkway.

As the travelator continued trying to push forward for 10 seconds after the passenger’s leg got trapped the limb was then pushed down to position E were it was severed after hitting the one-centimetre-thick metal edge.

The yellow combs were not involved in the accident but even if they were not installed there should not be the possibility of a leg being swallowed in this manner, he said.

Weerachai proposed that another simulation of the accident take place with the Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) to hold a maximum of two more meetings before calling a press conference.

Initially all the executives agreed that it was an accident and will take responsibility for it while handling everything to the best of their ability.

The problem is that Don Mueang Airport’s moving walkways are old, having been installed in 1987 with there being five safety switches. However a budget has been set to replace all of them.

When it comes to Suvarnabhumi Airport, the travelators there are in top condition with the machine immediately stopping even if a shoelace gets stuck in it, Weerachai mentioned.


The metal plate and frame at the end of a Don Mueang Airport’s moving walkway that severed a woman’s leg and yellow combs also attached there. Photos: Matichon

Also read: Don Mueang ranked as 26th most dangerous airport in the world

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