Woman amputated leg after being trapped on airport escalator

A woman’s leg had to be amputated at a Thai airport after getting caught on an escalator on Thursday, authorities said.

The 57-year-old Thai passenger was supposed to board a morning flight from Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport to the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat when she was caught by the stairs at the airport’s Terminal 2. A medical team eventually had to cut off his leg above the knee, according to airport officials.

“On behalf of Don Mueang International Airport, I would like to express my deepest condolences for the accident,” Don Mueang Airport Director Karun Thanakuljeerapat said during a press conference. “I would like to insist that we will make sure that an accident of this type does not happen again.”

He said the airport will be fully responsible for the woman’s medical costs and will be open to negotiations on other compensation.

The medical team at the hospital where she was initially sent informed Karun that they could not reattach her leg, but the woman requested to be transferred to another hospital to assess the possibility, he said.

Images shared online showed the woman’s lower leg pinned below the belt at the end of the gangway as airport staff helped her. A suitcase lying near her was missing two wheels, and the yellow comb-shaped plates were seen broken from where they normally cover the edge of the belt where the moving walkway ends.

Karun said the suitcase’s wheels were found below the belt, but it was unclear how that could be related to the accident. He said the walkways at the airport are checked daily, with an additional monthly inspection. He said the walkway has been closed and a team of engineers was inspecting it to determine the cause of the accident.

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The gangway was manufactured by the Japanese company Hitachi and installed in 1996, the airport director said, adding that there is a plan to request a quote to switch to a newer model in 2025.

In 2019, a passenger’s shoe was damaged after getting caught in the airport’s moving walkway at Terminal 1. The airport later released a statement saying the faulty walkway was repaired and reopened in about an hour.

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