CEO Udom Tantiprasongchai does not care about passenger safety or the law. Don't fly Thailand's Orient Thai and One-Two-Go Airlines until we see arrests and remediation. Warn your children.
Orient Thai's One-Two-Go OG269 crashed in Phuket, Thailand on Sept 16, 2007. 88 passengers, including 45 tourists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Iran, Sweden and Australia, and the 2 pilots were killed. The cause of the crash was foreseeable flight crew error, tolerated by the inept (at best) oversight of the Thai Civil Aviation Authority (called DCA) coupled with wonton and willful disregard for safety or the law by the owner and managers of the airline.
Thailand's economy depends on tourism. Rather than address critical issues of safety and security, the Thai government wants the public to forget about terrible tourist-impacting incidents, like this crash. Each year, the Thai Government spend millions of dollars marketing Thailand as "the land of smiles".
This website is one of the few public forums for information on the crash of OG269. (The other is a pilots' forum pprune.com.) In Thailand, discussing or publishing this material would make the person or business subject to financial compensation for loss of business to the Orient Thai/One-Two-GO and it's owners. In Thailand, publishing the truth to ensure safety is no defense for lost business revenues.
Before the crash, at least two Orient Thai/One-Two Go pilots tried to prevent tragedy. Clement Campeau wrote to Orient Thai's Chief Pilot, John McDermott. He warned of compromised training, skills and maintenance. He forecast the impending crash. A second pilot who needs to remain anonymous because he continues to work in SE Asia wrote to the Hong Kong, Korean and Thai Civil Aviation Authorities of dangerous flight, bribes, excessive work hours and more. Nothing changed.
On September 16, 2007, OG269 was filled with recent college graduates, honeymooners, retirees, vacationers and Thai citizens. The aircraft was flown by an Indonesian Captain, Arief, and a Thai First Officer, Montri. Arief was known to have medical issues, particularly in the afternoons and in bad weather. Montri was a very junior pilot. He was well respected by his peers, but had woefully inadequate training (overseen by the Thai Civil Aviation Authority). Additionally, the airline, Orient Thai/One-Two-Go, had no safety program, despite the legal requirement for one (to be overseen by the Thai Civil Aviation Authority).
Both pilots had flown more the legal working limit for the previous 7 day period and had failed to have a day off in 7 days as required by law. Both pilots had vastly exceeded the maximum legal flight hours for the previous 30 days as well. (Common violations at Orient Thai/One-Two-Go.) Both Arief and Montri flew several sectors on the day before the crash. They were surely exhausted.
Despite a clear report of the conditions from the pilot who landed immediately before OG269, the pilots decided to land the aircraft in forceful wind and a sudden downpour. (This previous flight was also an Orient Thai One-Two-Go aircraft.)
The Black Box data tells us Arief was not a factor in the landing. In fact, he is not heard from at all once the decision is made to land. Montri didn't have the skills to manage the landing and plane was buffeted by the winds. Montri announced his intention to abort the landing but then failed to properly configure the aircraft for a go-around. Suddenly, the aircraft had no thrust. Montri panicked and tried to relinquish control of the aircraft to Arief ("You have control"), who did not respond. For 15 of the final 19 seconds of flight — an eternity in aviation — no one was flying the aircraft. 4 seconds before impact with an embankment, someone, we don't know who, applied the throttle. It was too late. Throttles require 7-9 seconds to spool up. The aircraft slammed into the embankment.
The airport rescue was inadequate. The equipment and staffing did not meet the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) requirements for their class airport. Worse, the Phuket Airport Fire Stations's water and foam had not been restocked since a rescue simulation 3 days before. (The tower had not relayed these limitations to the landing aircraft as required by ICAO.) Whoever called to Phuket center for additional paramedics and fire engines said an aircraft that had "slid" off the runway, rather than publicly announce the fiery crash before them. The adjunct rescue staff took 20-45 minutes to arrive. An American paramedic on the scene called it a "recovery" rather than a "rescue". (See video of the rescue/recovery.)
After the crash, the Thai Civil Aviation Authority promised a thorough investigation. Udom Tantiprasongchai, the owner of Orient Thai and One-Two-Go defended his pilots as "skilled". Unbeknownst to the public, behind the scenes, the Thai Civil Aviation Authorities and Udom Tantiprasongchai began obfuscating their systemic lawbreaking and corruption. Soon, the Thai Civil Aviation Authorities announced that the cause of the crash was wind shear. Then the COO of Orient Thai/One-Two-Go, Cho Ting Tsang, sent CEO Udom and the flight scheduler an email detailing the falsification of the flight histories of Arief and Montri and requesting replacement of the aircraft flight logs to further hide the illegal flight by the airline.
By November, the fact of the fraud by Udom and Cho, the actual fraudulent documents, as well as the true rosters for August and September had been given to the Thai Civil Aviation Authority. The Thai government took no action. They made no correction in the information provided to the NTSB, the lead investigators of the crash. In February 2008, Thai Civil Aviation Authorities went so far as to claim that the NTSB was "unable to determine the cause" AND that "no punishment would be imposed because the accident was beyond control". The NTSB lead investigator, Jill Andrews (now Demko ) denied those allegations. (Ms. Andrews learned of the fraud and received the true flight rosters from the InvestigateUdom team. She never addressed these issues with the Thai government.)
After the crash, Orient Thai/One-Two-Go continued to fly dangerously and illegally. In December, an ICAO representative obtained proof of fraudulent check-rides of 4 pilots, Natsir, Purwanic, Hendrarto, and Haryanto observed and approved by Captain Latief while on a month-long leave of absence for the Hajj. The ICAO officer brought the information to the Thai Civil Aviation Authority. They took no action. (In addition to having inadequately skilled pilots, this evidence shows Orient Thai/One-Two-Go continued to fly excessive hours.) On June 4, 2008, this evidence was posted on the Internet. The airline and the Thai government continued to let dangerous and illegal pilots fly passengers for months.
The US FAA audits every country that has or wants to have flight rights to the United States. In fact, 2 month before the crash of OG269 as part of their audit of Thailand aviation, the FAA had notified Thailand that their Civil Aviation Authority was "seriously deficient" in providing oversight. The FAA did not inform the public.
The FAA continued their audit of Thailand through 2007 and into 2008, returning to Thailand to meet with the Thai Civil Aviation Authority in August 2008. On July 18, 2008, the Thai Civil Aviation Authority suddenly determined that Orient Thai and One-Two-Go were unsafe due to excessive flight hours, poor training, check-ride fraud and no quality control. They revoked the AOC for only One-Two-Go for 90 days. In August 2008, the FAA concluded Thailand met ICAO standards and was "safe" for Americans.
The issues identify cronyism and corruption in Thai aviation and its affect on passenger safety. As part of our investigation, we received equally chilling evidence of dangerous and illegal flight at other Thai-based airlines. Fortunately, the recent economy has forced most of these airlines out of business. Unfortunately for the traveling public, Udom Tantiprasongchai is particularly well connected in Thailand. His airlines are the only Thai airline to carry a stamp from the revered King of Thailand. His airlines continue to fly.
Oh, and that grounding of One-Two-Go July 23, 2008 - December 5, 2008? The airline was regularly flying passengers Hong Kong to Bangkok and back as captured in this October 11, 2008 photo.
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This campaign brought to you in memory of the passengers of Flight OG 269.
Please direct inquires to Bonnie at InvestigateUdom.com.