Accident description
Last updated: 22 December 2014
Date:Friday 11 December 1998
Type:Silhouette image of generic A310 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A310-204
Operator:Thai Airways International
Registration: HS-TIA
C/n / msn: 415
First flight: 1986-03-03 (12 years 10 months)
Engines: 2 General Electric CF6-80C2A2
Crew:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 14
Passengers:Fatalities: 90 / Occupants: 132
Total:Fatalities: 101 / Occupants: 146
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:ca 4 km SW of Surat Thani Airport (URT) (   Thailand) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bangkok-Don Muang International Airport (BKK/VTBD), Thailand
Destination airport:Surat Thani Airport (URT/VTSB), Thailand
Flightnumber: 261
Thai Flight 261 left Bangkok at 17:40 for a 1:55min flight to Surat Thani. Weather in the Surat Thani area was poor with limited visibility and heavy rainfall. The Airbus was on it's third landing attempt when it stalled and crashed about three to five km southwest of the airport in a rubber plantation.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Spatial disorientation when the nose pitched up sharply during a night time approach in stormy weather.

Loss of situational awareness
Loss of control

» Bangkok Post May 4, 2001 - Pilot error, bad weather to blame
» Bangkok Post Thursday 29 November 2001 - Officials want Airbus firm to share blame


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Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
03 MAR 1986 F-WWBI Airbus first flight
29 APR 1986 HS-TIA Thai Airways

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Bangkok-Don Muang International Airport to Surat Thani Airport as the crow flies is 552 km (345 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Airbus A310

  • 4th loss
  • 255+ built
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 5th worst accident (currently)
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  • 2nd worst accident
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