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Fatigue blamed for Thai air crash

Fatigue and pilot error have been cited as central causes of a 2007 plane crash that killed 90 people in Phuket, Thailand.

A newly-released investigation report from the Thailand Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) found that accumulated pilot fatigue brought about by poor scheduling was likely to have contributed to the accident in which a Boeing MD-82 operated by One-Two-Go crashed while landing in bad weather and low visibility.

The report outlined several crew errors, all consistent with fatigue, including: neglecting to follow standard operating procedure to undertake a go-around after a first landing attempt was aborted, lack of co-ordination between pilot and co-pilot and failure to react appropriately and to properly operate cockpit equipment.

The DCA recommended schedule changes to allow sufficient rest time for pilots and cabin crew, as well as further training for handling flight emergencies.

Phuket Airport facilities have also been criticised with the DCA calling for upgrades to the runway and landing guidance systems, as well as alterations to the airport layout to reduce access times for emergency response personnel.

In 2008, the DCA placed a 30-day flight suspension on One-Two-Go to force improvements to operational safety. Flights resumed afterward but in April 2009 the European Commission banned the airline from the flying in the European Union, citing safety concerns.

sources: Associated Press, BBC, Flightglobal