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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 21:59 GMT 22:59 UK
Scores killed in Thai plane crash

At least 88 people have been confirmed killed in a plane crash in the tourist resort of Phuket in southern Thailand.

The aircraft skidded off the runway after landing in heavy rain and exploded into flames.

It was carrying 123 passengers - most of them foreigners - and seven crew. About 40 people escaped the burning wreckage and were taken to hospital.

Flight OG 269, operated by airline One-Two-Go, had flown to Phuket from the Thai capital, Bangkok.

More than 80 bodies have been recovered and are now lying in a makeshift morgue at Phuket airport.

I saw passengers engulfed in fire as I stepped over them on the way out of the plane

A French tourist aboard a plane behind the one that crashed told AFP news agency she saw the accident happen.

"When the plane landed it caught fire," she said. "We could see the fire coming out of it."

Survivors crawled out of the wreckage through thick smoke, many of them badly burned.

Passenger Parinwit Chusaeng told Thai TV: "I saw passengers engulfed in fire as I stepped over them on the way out of the plane.

"I was afraid that the airplane was going to explode, so I ran away."

Aborted landing?

Phuket Deputy Governor Worapot Ratthaseema said 42 people had been taken to hospital. Five are said to be in critical condition.

Those injured included nationals from Australia, Britain, France, Iran, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Plane crash at Phuket

At least 70 of the passengers were foreigners, officials said.

Both the pilot and co-pilot of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 are among those who escaped.

Survivors say the pilot circled the area hoping for the weather to clear before making his final disastrous approach.

The flight was approaching the airport when the pilot asked to abort the landing, an aviation official told Thai television.

"The control tower allowed it but the aircraft fell to the runway and the body broke," he said.

One-Two-Go is one of Thailand's first budget airlines.

It was set up in December 2003 as a subsidiary of Orient Thai Airways, and services domestic routes.

This is Thailand's deadliest aviation accident since December 1998, when 101 people were killed after a Thai Airways crashed on landing near another southern resort.

Scene of the plane crash at Phuket

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