BANGKOK, Nov. 22 -- Two Americans were among 38 people who died in the crash of a Thai plane carrying foreign vacationers to a resort island, the U.S. Embassy said today.
The Bangkok Airways twin-engine plane slammed into coconut trees in heavy rain and gusty wind late Wednesday as it prepared to land on Koh Samui, police said. Witnesses said it exploded and crashed about six miles from the airport.
All 33 passengers, most of them foreign, and five crew members aboard the de Havilland turboprop were killed, officials said.
The airport, with no radar or advanced ground control equipment, opened only last year to draw more foreign tourists to the pristine island in the Gulf of Thailand, 300 miles south of Bangkok.
Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan ordered an investigation into the crash and an inspection of safety conditions at Koh Samui's airport, said his spokesman, Suvit Yodmani.
The flight recorder containing the conversation between the plane and the airport was found Wednesday but not yet analyzed, police said.
The Bangkok Airways plane was on a 50-minute flight from Bangkok when it crashed.
U.S. Embassy spokesman James Williams said at least two Americans were aboard: Edward G. Lincoln and Kathleen Lincoln. Williams said he had no other immediate information about them.
The passengers also included four or five Japanese, two Australians and one German, said Nanthika Niyomrerk of Bangkok Airways. There also may have been Swedes and Finns aboard, she said.
No other information on nationalities of victims was available.