Three Irish women last night told how they climbed through mangled wreckage suffering only cuts and bruises after the plane they were on crashed in Thailand.
The friends, who had been travelling around south-east Asia, were in row 10 — just four seats away from a crushing impact — as the jet slid on landing and smashed into a disused control tower.
The pilot of the Bangkok Airways' ATR72 died in the accident on a rain-soaked runway in the holiday resort of Koh Samui.
Aoife Creamer (25) a teacher, from Rush, north Co Dublin told how panicked passengers ran from the jet amid fears of a fire.
“We were in the 10th row, about six rows back from where it came in through our side of the plane, the left-hand side,” she said. “The tower was basically inside the plane so I don't know how anybody who was sitting in those front rows was alive.
“We don't even know if they are.”
The teacher at St Brendan's Primary School, Loughshinny, suffered bruising in the crash while her sister Orlagh, a 20-year-old student from Swords in Co Dublin, hurt a knee and their friend Lesley Dowdall (23), also from Swords, sprained a wrist.
Aoife went on: “The plane stopped and everyone started to panic and scream. We tried to calm people down.
“People started climbing over seats and grabbed their bags and we told them to leave them and get off. We were afraid it was going to go on fire. It was mental. Everyone was pushing then and we were just trying to get people off. We ran down the runway. They were telling us to run, run, run. I think they were afraid it was going to going to explode too.”
The friends have vowed to cut short their six-week holiday and return home. They were among 68 passengers, two cabin crew and two pilots on board the plane which ended up embedded, nose down in the old control tower.
“We're definitely coming straight home. “We just can't get home quick enough at this stage.”
A fourth friend, Aine Deasy (21), from Swords, left Thailand two days ago after suffering a serious head injury in a fall.