B.C. woman escaped through window of burning plane
'We saw a couple of people who were on fire. Just a handful of us made it out.'
A 23-year-old B.C. woman said she escaped through a window as smoke and flames filled an airplane that crashed in southern Thailand on Sunday, killing most aboard.
"The guys behind me kicked in their window,"Mildred Anne Furlong of Prince George,one of about39 survivors,told CBC Newsworld from theBangkok Phuket Hospital.
"Smoke was coming in and you thought you were going to pass out. Flames were spreading."
Officials said91 people died after theaircraft, operated bythe low-cost One-Two-Go airline,crashed while attempting to land in stormy weatherat the resort city of Phuket. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 plane, owned by Orient-Thai Airlines,split into two parts and burst into flames.
It was carrying 130 passengers, many of themforeign tourists. Furlong said she believes she may have been the only Canadian on board and was definitelyone of few lucky ones — amongperhaps a half-dozenpeople who escaped with only minor injuries.
Furlong said the one-hour flight from Bangkok was uneventful, aside fromrain and some turbulence, but passengersnoticed the pilot was having trouble on the descent.
"We broke through the clouds and it was quite dark. There was a lot of rain. We were all looking out the windows and the trees were blowing really hard," Furlong said.
"We started to go for the landing and hejust about hit the runway,but couldn't make it, so he lifted back up. We started to circle.I thought he was going to circle back around and try again,and then we took a sharp right and we started going for the ground."
At this point, Furlong said she tucked her head between her knees.
"Webounced once and then went straight into an embankment with trees and bushes," she told Newsworld.
"It was rainingreallyhard. We saw a couple of people who were on fire. Just a handful of us made it out. I counted 17 or 20 who had made it out on their own."
Furlong andother passengers who bailed outlanded onthe wing and were soontransported to hospitalin a minivan. She sufferedwhiplash and cuts. A hospital official said she could be released from hospital as early asMonday.
Officials said onSunday it was too early to establish the cause of the crash but added the weather was likely a factor. They said the flight's two data recorders or "black boxes"have beenrecovered from the charred and twisted wreckage and will be sent to the United States for analysis.