Fuming pilot crashed plane into mountain and killed 113 onboard despite warnings
A horrifying 113 people onboard a plane were killed when a furious pilot mistakenly flew into a mountain, leaving no survivors.
Thai Airways International Flight 311 ended in tragedy on July 31 1992 when the journey from Bangkok, Thailand to Kathmundu, Nepal, crashed into a steep rock face in a remote area of the Himalayas.
Captain Preeda Suttimai, 41, was reportedly raging at miscommunication from a rookie air traffic controller, who struggled to answer his questions in English.
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Without clear instruction or direction, the captain smashed into a mountain 23 miles north of Kathmandu which he thought they were clear of.
Travelling at 350mph at an altitude of 11,500ft, the 99 passengers and 14 crew members never stood a chance of survival. A British investigator even died on his way to the wreckage.
A statement released in Bangkok listed 11 Americans, 17 Japanese, 23 Nepalese and 14 Europeans. Other passengers came from Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Finland.
Captain Suttimai kept asking air traffic control (ATC) about winds and visibility at the airport, but was just told in response that Runway 02 was available.
A combination of a language barrier and the trainee air traffic controller's inexperience after only nine months on the job led to a frustrated pilot and severe breakdown of communication.
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According to the subsequent investigation, the captain asked for permission to turn left four times but without affirmative confirmation, he announced the plane would instead turn right.
The controller misunderstood the plane's movements which he thought had called off the approach to turn south, so he cleared the aircraft to 11,500ft which would have been safe south of the airport.
Instead the flight passed over the airport northbound, setting off the plane's ground proximity warning system (GPWS) which alerted the crew to an imminent collision with the mountains.
First Officer Boonyayej, 52, Phunthat urged Captain Suttimai to turn the aircraft around, but possibly frustrated by the communications with ATC, Suttimai assumed the system was just faulty.
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Unknown to all those onboard beyond the cockpit, their final moments alive were upon them before the plane came to a devastating stop.
A massive rescue team of 1,500 emergency workers were readied to search for survivors but the mission was put on hold due to dangerous weather conditions.
British investigator from Airbus, Gordon Corps, 62, died on his way up to the wreckage after suffering from hyperthermia and hypoxia.
A sequence of errors was listed by Nepalese authorities to explain how a passenger plane soared into a mountainside.
They included the captain and air traffic controller's loss of situational awareness, the first officer's lack of initiative and inconclusive answers to the captain's questions, poor supervision from air traffic control and other issues that lead to the incident.
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