Thai crash experts concentrate on victim identification

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Thai crash experts concentrate on victim identification

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Thai and foreign experts are joining forces again to identify the victims from Sunday’s plane crash on the resort island of Phuket. It is the largest forensic operation the country’s mounted since the devastating tsunami three years ago.

Investigators want to quickly determine what caused the budget airliner to crash while trying to land killing 89 people, the majority of them European holidaymakers.

Having recovered the flight data recorders, accident experts will be looking for clues as to why the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft veered off the runaway before smashing into a wooded embankement and bursting into flames.

Survivors spoke of driving rain and swirling winds but the crash is bound to raise more safety questions about the budget carriers that have sprung up across Asia in the last decade.

The Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has been quick to defend his country’s safety record.

He insists “all safety standards are strictly imposed and on a par with international carriers in all aspects.”

The survivors are thought to include nationals from Britain, France, Ireland and Italy, along with the Netherlands and Sweden.

At least five of them are described as being critically ill.