4 Air Force personnel injured in U-Tapao explosion

Friday, 06 September 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 36 By  Patcharapol Panrak

Four weapons specialists were injured when a training jet exploded during repairs at the Royal Thai Air Force base in U-Tapao.

Pilot Saksirin Rungroj, 1FS Surachet Theekhawong, 1FS Chalong Manphrom, and LAC Kantapop Sriprasert were transported to Queen Sirikit Naval Medical Center for treatment after the Aug. 27 accident during training exercises that began at Taklee Airport in Nakhon Sawan.

Four weapons specialists were injured during an accident involving ground repair of a L-39ZA/ART training jet at the Royal Thai Air Force base in U-Tapao.Four weapons specialists were injured during an accident involving ground repair of a L-39ZA/ART training jet at the Royal Thai Air Force base in U-Tapao.

Witnesses said that an ammunition shell had been lodged inside the front engine of one of six Czech-made Aero L-39 Albatross being used in the exercise. While tying to extract it, an explosion occurred, propelling the bullet into the stomach of Chalong and injuring the others.

First launched in the 1960s, turbofan-powered L-39s remain in use in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. Thailand uses the L-39ZA/ART, a westernized variant equipped with Israeli avionics.

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