Thai International HS-TGI – 30. June 1967

Date  30.   June 1967
Location Bangkok,   Thailand
C/N 25
Model  Caravelle   III
Airline Thai   Airways
Registration HS-TGI
Occupants  0/7 + 24/73
Aircraft history HS-TGI c/n 25 was originally delivered to SAS as   SE-DAC and made its first flight on February 25th 1960 and was ferried to   Sweden on March 11th 1960. After conversion to series III standards, the   plane was leased to Thai International as HS-TGI and named “Chiraprapa”   on September 29th 1966.
Accident description Flight TG601 from Taipei/Taiwan to Hong Kong took of   at 13:40 local time with 73 passengers, 4 stewardesses and 3 cockpit crew members.   For the national airline of Thailand the Caravelle was the first jet-engined   aircraft 3 cvls were already operated by Thai all leased from SAS. SAS not   only leased its Caravelle but was also responsible for maintenance, repair,   crew training etc. As Thai did not have enough captains for its aircraft SAS   leased them together with the Caravelles. Pilot in Command on TG601 was a 43 year-old Danish pilot who had 3.700h on the Caravelle. His co-pilot was a  Thai who was 7 years older than himself who had flown 1.500h on the Caravelle. The Flight Engineer was 33 years old and had only 50hours on type. The Danish pilot handled all radio communication and set the radios while the Thai pilot was the pilot flying on TG601. As the political situation between China and Taiwan was tensed China’s airspace had to be circumnavigated. The Chinese Government prohibited western planes to land at any airport within China. So TG601 was carrying fuel for 4 hours although the flight lasts only 1 hour and ~35   minutes. The weather on this day was bad. The typhoon “Anita” was located 150 miles northwest of Hong Kong. The “fasten seat belt” – signs were on during the entire flight. At 14:38 the crew contacted Hong Kong approach and was cleared to decent to flight level 70 (7.000ft). TG 601 left FL260 and started to decent to FL70.   Strong thunderstorms and heavy rain was reported over Hong Kong. The Caravelle was on the 8 mile final when it was established on the localizer of runway 31 at Hong Kong Intl Airport – runway 31 is the only  runway that is equipped with an ILS. Then the crew changed frequency and   contacted the PAR controller (PAR = Precision-Approach-Radar)   who sees every deviation from the ILS on his radar screen. The first part of   the approach was well flown but 4 miles of the airport the Caravelle deviated   to the right. ATC:”One and a half miles, you’re slightly right of   center” at that point TG601 was passing 415ft the so called decision   high.  The co-pilot was concentrating on the aircraft’s attitude not on its altitude (by now the aircraft was flying 50ft below the glide slope)   he made a left turn to align the plane with the centerline. ATC: “Coming   back on centerline now”. Both the captain and the F/O were concentrating on the runway and were looking outside. They did not notice that the   Caravelle had a decent rate of 900ft per minute (300ftpm is standard). The crew did not see the runway at that point. The controller said” One mile going left of center”. Both pilots weren’t worried at all – any deviation from the glide slope would be seen on the radar screen and the   controller would inform them. Suddenly the pilot in command saw the water surface and pulled the control column to the stop. But it was too late the rear part of the Caravelle struck the sea at 15:07 at an airspeed of 130kts   the outer right wing and the undercarriage were torn off. At this moment the   controller said: “Well left of centerline, if you are not visual,   climb immediately on your present heading”. But he did not receive a   confirmation. The Caravelle had already ditched in the Hong Kong harbor. The rear part of the cabin was torn off and water came into the cabin. The purser was unable to open the left cabin door as the airframe was bent by impact.   Finally he managed it together with a passenger. A self-inflatable life raft was quickly blown away by the winds but some passengers managed to get on it.  The water temperature was high but some passengers got into panic and 70 seconds after the plane ditched HS-TGI was completely sunken. 24 passengers perished. The cockpit section was later recovered and survives to this day in Bangkok.