14 hurt as Thai Airway plane skids off runway in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Sept 09, 2013 - A Thai Airways plane skidded off the runway in Bangkok after the landing gear malfunctioned, slightly injuring more than a dozen passengers as they evacuated the jet, the airline said Monday.

The Airbus A330-300 was seen resting on grass next to the runway at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport with its evacuation slides still deployed and the Thai Airways name and logo hastily covered up.

A spokeswoman for the airline said concealing the name and logo after an accident was a measure previously agreed by members of the Star Alliance international network of airlines.

The carrier said 288 passengers and 14 crew members were on board the flight from Guangzhou in southern China when it suffered a landing problem late on Sunday.

"Sparks were noticed from the vicinity of the right landing gear near the engine; the matter is under investigation," the airline said in a statement.

"The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft emergency exits. The operation was conducted by the captain and cabin crew strictly according to emergency procedures."

About 14 people were slightly injured when they escaped down the emergency slides, Thai Airways president Sorajak Kasemsuvan told local television.

"They were sent to hospital but most of them received treatment and were discharged," he added.

The incident forced the closure of one of two runways at Bangkok's main international gateway, causing delays of about 15 minutes for inbound flights and 30 minutes for departing flights, according to air traffic controllers.

The airline said it would take about 24 hours to remove the aircraft.

Airbus said in a statement that it had sent a team of experts to support the investigation into the cause of the incident.

It comes just over a week after dozens of passengers and crew were injured when a Thai Airways A380 superjumbo hit severe turbulence during a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.