Airports of Thailand (AoT) has organized a committee to investigate an incident on a moving walkway that resulted in the loss of a woman’s leg, with results anticipated within 15 days.
The committee includes representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT), the Engineers Council, Siam Hitachi Company, and the victim’s family, who lost part of her left leg after falling on a travelator at Don Mueang airport on Thursday.
The 57-year-old woman was treated at the site for an emergency amputation of her left leg above the knee before being transferred to the neighboring Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital, where her condition was stabilized.
She was eventually transferred to Bumrungrad Hospital, where surgeons were able to repair the leg, although her son stated that she was unlikely to be able to use it properly again.
“My mother’s morale is alarming,” her son told the UK tabloid The Sun. “ … My family’s primary concern is my mother’s mental state and long-term condition.
“We know that we can’t get my mother’s legs back on track or even her life back on track.”
On Saturday, AoT CEO Kerati Kijmanawat announced that the committee would look at replacing moving walkways that are more than 20 to 25 years old at all six AoT airports: Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai.
After the incident, all 20 moving walkways at Don Mueang have been taken out of service. They will progressively reopen after inspections and renovations, which are projected to take one month.
“We admit that our travelators are over 27 years old, but rest assured that they receive regular maintenance,” Mr. Kerati remarked. “We will consider replacing those over 15-20 years old and incorporating new technologies such as sensors.”
He also stated that if Siam Hitachi, the firm in charge of maintaining the walkways, is proven to be at fault, the company will be liable.
“This would be considered a serious oversight, and we would have to notify the Comptroller General’s Department in order to reconsider the company in its purchase and acquisition process.”
According to the AoT chief, initial checks confirmed that the apparatus’s maintenance was completed on time.
Mr. Kerati would not reveal the compensation offered to the injured woman and her family, but he said that conversations had occurred.
He stated that AoT’s insurance should pay the victim’s medical expenses and any damages caused by the occurrence.
Meanwhile, the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) has stated that a broken suitcase wheel may have contributed to an accident in which a woman lost part of her left leg after falling on one of the airport’s moving walkways.
Following the disaster on Thursday morning, on Friday, Boonpong Kijwatanachai, adviser to the EIT’s mechanical engineering committee, provided an update on the airport’s travellator system.
The EIT believes the baggage wheel became caught and damaged the travellator’s comb, which then dropped under the platform and wrenched it open wide enough for the woman’s leg to fall in.
According to Mr. Boonpong, the sensor system is still operational. Hence the system was operating regularly at the time of the occurrence.
However, he stated that the accident is still being investigated.
Mr. Boonpong stated that the automatic sliding travellator mechanism had been maintained following requirements.
Furthermore, he stated that maintenance employees had tested the system daily before its operation.
According to him, the EIT is asking people to be cautious and avoid using mobile phones while using both a travellator and an escalator.
However, the EIT has also recommended people not be concerned about using travellators or escalators because they are built under EN115 or European standards.
He noted that travellators are built for flat surface use and can support a total weight of 160 kilograms per panel, whereas escalators can support a weight of 75 kilograms per panel.
Meanwhile, Don Mueang Police Superintendent Pol Col Adirek Tongkeamkeaw stated that detectives are interrogating all relevant individuals while waiting for test results from Police Forensic Science.
Police will also investigate the outsourced business performing the system maintenance work, he said.
Pol Col Adirek noted that the injured woman is being treated in an ICU at Bumrungrad International Hospital.
A son of the injured woman expressed concern about his mother’s mental state on Facebook, saying she couldn’t comprehend life with only one leg. He thanked everyone who expressed worry for his mother’s health.
According to him, his mother has received preliminary help from a team of psychiatrists.