Bangkok: A woman's leg had to be amputated in a Thai airport after it was trapped by a movable walkway Thursday, officials said.
The 57-year-old Thai passenger was due to board a morning flight from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport to the southern Nakhon Si Thammarat province when she was caught by the walkway in the airport’s Terminal 2. A medical team there eventually had to cut her left leg off from above the knee, according to the airport's officials.
“On behalf of the Don Mueang International Airport, I’d like to express my deepest condolences regarding the accident,” Don Mueang Airport Director Karun Thanakuljeerapat said during a news conference. “I’d like to insist that we will ensure that no such accident will happen again.”
He said the airport will be fully responsible for the woman's medical costs and will be open for negotiations on other compensations.
The medical team at the hospital informed Karun that they could not reattach her leg, but the woman requested to be transferred to another hospital to assess the possibility, he said.
Images shared online showed the lower part of the woman’s leg trapped beneath the belt at the end of the walkway as she was being assisted by airport staff. A suitcase lying near her was missing two wheels, and the yellow comb-like plates were seen broken off from where they typically cover the edge of the belt where the moving walkway ends.
Karun said the suitcase wheels were found underneath the belt, but it was unclear how it might relate to the accident. He said walkways at the airport are checked daily, with an additional monthly inspection. He said the walkway has been closed and a team of engineers was inspecting it to determine the cause of the accident.
The walkway was manufactured by Japanese company Hitachi and was installed in 1996, the airport director said, adding that there is a plan to request for a budget to change to a newer model in 2025.
In 2019, a passenger’s shoe was damaged after it was caught in the airport’s moving walkway in Terminal 1. The airport released a statement afterward saying the faulty walkway was repaired and reopened in about an hour.