BANGKOK — A Thai woman’s leg had to be partially amputated after it became trapped in a moving walkway at an international airport in Bangkok, officials said.
Supannee Kittirattana, 57, was on her way to the southern city of Nakhon Si Thammarat when her left leg became caught in the walkway around 8:27 a.m. Thursday (7:27 p.m. Wednesday ET), said Karant Thanakuljeerapat, director of Don Mueang International Airport.
The airport medical team responded quickly and transferred her to a local hospital, Karant said. She was later moved to a different hospital, where she underwent surgery to amputate her leg at the knee.
Karant expressed his condolences over the “severe” accident and said the cause was under investigation.
“We would like to assure all passengers using Don Mueang airport that we will investigate and check and improve our measures so that we provide safe and efficient services,” he said at a news conference.
He said the walkway had been in service since 1996 and that there are regular maintenance checks.
Airports of Thailand, the state-owned company that operates airports across the country, said in a statement that all of the moving walkways at Don Mueang had been shut down temporarily and that it had ordered checks on walkways and escalators at all airports. It said it would pay for all of Kittirattana’s medical expenses and “proceed on the best compensation for the injured.”
The victim’s son, Krit Kittirattana, said the family was “most concerned about her mental state” and how she would adjust long term.
“This crisis is very hard for our family,” he said in a Facebook post. “We are still shocked and saddened every time we see the news or think of our mother’s condition, but we have to fight because our mother is fighting.”
He said the family had requested CCTV footage from the airport but would leave it to the airport to conduct an investigation, “which the family hopes to be fair and just.”
Don Mueang is the smaller and older of two international airports in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Since Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in 2006, Don Mueang has served mainly as a secondary hub for low-cost flights in the Bangkok metropolitan region.
Thailand, a major tourist destination, has been trying to revive the industry since the end of pandemic restrictions. So far this year it has received more than 12 million international visitors, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Another passenger had complained of a similar incident in a different part of Don Mueang airport in July 2019. Dhanapat Koomsalud said he was stepping off a moving walkway when one of his shoes got stuck.
“The shoe got sucked into the walkway right away,” he said in a Facebook post the following month. “I was shocked, and when I looked, I could see that the safety comb was broken, that was the reason my shoe got sucked in.”
Koomsalud said he did “not want to imagine” what could have happened if he had waited a second longer or if his shoe had been more difficult to slip off. He filed a complaint with the airport but said he had not heard back aside from an initial text three weeks earlier.
In another Facebook post in response to Thursday’s accident, Koomsalud said Don Mueang airport authorities had contacted him shortly after his 2019 post.
“What I wanted them to improve was the swiftness in helping, the complaint channel should be improved,” said Koomsalud, who said he was compensated at the time with a fruit basket, an airport souvenir and money for his damaged shoe.
“I would like to convey my condolences to the victim,” he said of Kittirattana, “and I hope there will be no more accidents like this.”