Royal Thai Air Force L-39ZA/ART Trainer Jet Crashes Near Myanmar Border, One Killed

A Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) L-39ZA/ART trainer jet crashed onto a golf course in Sam Ngao district near Myanmar border during a training flight on Tuesday afternoon killing its pilot, according to local media reports.

The aircraft was totally destroyed and engulfed in flames after the crash at Bhumibol Dam Golf Course around 3pm. The co-pilot of the aircraft was seriously injured in the crash.

Witnesses saw the plane come down onto the ground, followed by a large fire that made a big column of black smoke. According to the reports, firefighters and rescue workers were rushed to the scene.

The pilot of the aircraft, Sqn Ldr Kroekkiat Suwanno, 36, was found hanging by his parachute in a tree after the crash. He was seriously hurt and later died. Rescue workers used a crane to retrieve his body. The co-pilot, Gp Capt Jirasak Namwongsri, 42, was found alive but seriously injured in his seat. He was rushed to Sam Ngao Hospital.

The aircraft departed from Wing 41 airbase in Chiang Mai, heading to Tak.

L-39ZA/ART is the Thai version of Aero L-39 Albatros, a high-performance two-seat, single-engine jet trainer developed in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody. It is a westernized version, equipped with Israeli avionics from Elbit Systems.

Around 40 of this aircraft was built for the Royal Thai Air Force.

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