The Chief Executive Officer of defunct Thai budget carrier, One-Two-Go Airlines, has been handed a four year jail sentence over a 2007 crash.
Filing the suit were the families of nine French occupants on board OG269, who were among the 90 that perished in the violent crash.
A French court dealing with the case ruled in favour of the families and presented a four year jail sentence to Udom Tantiprasongchai, the former head of One-Two-Go, for manslaughter.
Additionally, Tantiprasongchai has been ordered to pay a fine of US$82,300 to settle other parts of the case.
Unfortunately for the families Tantiprasongchai was never arrested and didn’t attend the court case, meaning he was tried in absentia.
On September 16th 2007, 123 passengers and seven crew were on board a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 operating flight OG269 from Don Mueang International Airport to Phuket International Airport.
Registered HS-OMG, the aircraft was on approach when a series of crew mistakes put the aircraft in a dangerous situation.
Failing to process the large amounts of input during landing, the pilots in command failed to communicate adequately. When the weather picked up, a go around was commanded; however it was done with little respect to appropriate guidelines.
Raising the aircraft from two degrees to twelve degrees whilst the engines remained at idle power, the aircraft began to lose airspeed and drop. Adding to the poor aerodynamics were the flaps and landing gear, which were ignored for the attempted go around.
After thirteen seconds remaining at idle power the engines were manually set to a higher power setting; however two seconds later, the aircraft struck an embankment along the runway.
As a result of the hard impact, a post crash fire ignited and the people on board struggled to depart the flaming wreck.
The position of the aircraft in the embankment seriously hindered emergency response access, however complaints were filed that fire and ambulance vehicles could have accessed the location from either end of the runway.
One passenger argued that only one ambulance arrived at the scene and it took more than 30 minutes for the Phuket town ambulances to show up.
Investigation and Legal Proceedings
Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation and United States National Transportation Safety Board worked together to determine the cause of the crash.
After black box analysis, interviews with other crew members and a detailed overview of One-Two-Go’s operations, it was determined poor crew resource management and upper management pressure were contributing factors to the crash.
NTSB conclusions also found that significant fatigue, poor culture and poor training within the airline were of great concern.
Udom Tantiprasongchai was accused multiple times by media of coercion and bribery of pilots to fly excessive hours. Pilot logs within the airline displayed that some had not only exceeded their daily limit, but also their monthly.
The National Federation of Victims of Attacks and Crashes (FENVAC) states Tantiprasongchai stood trial for aggravated manslaughter and gross negligence according to Flight Global.
One-Two-Go Airlines and its parent, Orient Thai Airlines, no longer operate, with operations ceasing in 2010 and 2018 respectively.