Authorities investigate luggage fire at Suvarnabhumi

national January 29, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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AN INVESTIGATION is being conducted to determine how a piece of luggage caught fire on a conveyer belt at Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday.

The fire occurred at 6.35am when a Thai passenger was checking in for Bangkok Airways’ Flight PG931 to Phnom Penh, an airline statement said. The incident was resolved and is being handled by Airports of Thailand (AOT).

Raweewan Nettarakavessana, director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said an initial investigation showed that the luggage carried a leavening agent for fertiliser, which is believed to have undergone a chemical reaction, resulting in flames.

She said the fire had slightly damaged the conveyor belt, weighing scales and electronics at the check-in counter, though everything returned to normal within an hour. AOT contacted relevant agencies to investigate the issue later, she added.

Images and video clips of the fire have been circulating in the social media.

Caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt inspected the scene yesterday and instructed officials to conduct an investigation. He said he did not believe the incident had anything to do with the current political conflict or a terrorist attack, but was due merely to a passenger’s ignorance. He said the phosphorus products in the luggage might catch fire because of heat. He added that even if the luggage had not burst into flames on the conveyor belt, airport security had many steps that would have prevented the bag from making it to the flight.

The passenger, Pongkarn Kositthamanun, had initially said the products were meant for a business demonstration in Phnom Penh, but later claimed the piece of luggage belonged to a friend who owned a fertiliser factory in Lop Buri and had asked him to deliver it to a friend in Cambodia.

He said he was only told that the luggage contained some organic fertiliser.


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