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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Thai PM accepts accident theory
Thai Airways jet
The plane up minutes before Mr Thaksin was to board
The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, has said he accepts a US report that an explosion which blew up an aircraft he was about to board last month was an accident.


Although our equipment is among the best in Asia, American devices are better and more accurate than our

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
Parts of the plane had been sent for examination by the US National Transportation Safety Board, after Thai investigators initially suspected a bomb attack against Mr Shinawatra.

But on Wednesday, US and Thai investigators issued a statement in Washington saying there was no evidence the explosion was caused by a bomb.

The plane burst into flames on the tarmac at Bangkok airport minutes before Mr Thaksin was due to board.

A flight steward was killed and seven other people were injured.

Air conditioning units

Mr Thaskin was asked by journalists why he had said after the incident that it was the work of bombers.

Thai PM
Thaksin Shinawatra: Decisive election win earlier this year
He said that equipment used by Thai investigators had identified RDX - a substance used in plastic explosives.

He had based his earlier statements on that.

However, Mr Thaksin said US equipment, which was more sophisticated, had not found any evidence of RDX.

The US investigation has highlighted a problem with the plane's air-conditioning units, located beneath the centre fuel tank, which had been running continuously for a long period of time and were generating heat.

It noted similarities with a centre fuel tank explosion on a Philippine Airlines plane in 1990.

The plane's manufacturers, Boeing, are working with investigators to pinpoint the cause of the explosion.

A final report on the incident is not expected to be published for a year.

Mr Shinawatra, a businessman who made a fortune in the telecom sector, took office in February after his party won elections by an unprecedented margin.

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See also:

12 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thai plane blast 'an accident'
08 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thai PM 'knows who bombers are'
05 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thai bomb 'was work of experts'
04 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thai PM 'target' of plane fire
09 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thaksin's rocky road to power
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