No sooner did Israelis get over the capsizing of a ferry boat, and the death of a young man on his honeymoon in southern Thailand, did tragedy strike Israelis again in that country – this time with even more fury.

A passenger plane with 130 aboard crashed and burned on the runway of Phuket International Airport on Sunday, September 16. At least 88 people are said to have been killed when the airliner, from the discount airline, One Two Go Company, broke apart and burst into flames when it tried to land during a heavy rain storm. At least 10 Israelis were believed to be on this flight, including two recently married couples from Netanya and Kfar Yona. 40 people managed to survive the crash, including two Israelis, who were located by Chabad volunteers who had rushed to the crash scene from Bangkok after learning the news of the tragedy.

Of the ten Israelis believed to be on board, two have been confirmed dead and at least another six still unaccounted for.

Survivors who were interviewed afterwards said that the pilot had tried to make a landing during the storm, but appeared to have not approached the runway soon enough and tried to rear off the runway, but didn’t succeed in doing so. “I think the wind must have hit us” an Australian passenger named David Borland said afterwards. Borland said that his own pants caught fire as he crawled to an exit and was pulled out by rescuers.

Magan David Adom forensic experts, as well as distressed relatives of the missing Israeli passengers have arrived on the scene to try to identify the remains of other Israelis who were killed. Of the two recently married couples, one of them, from Netanya, had only been married four days before arriving in Thailand.

The Island of Phuket, as well as other islands on Thailand’s southern Andaman Sea coast are popular vacation spots for Israeli and other foreign tourists. This same area received widespread damage and loss of life in the tsunami tidal wave disaster of December 26, 2004.

Thai authorities are offering a sum of 100,000 Bhat, an equivalent to about $3,500, for ‘expenses’ involved in taking deceased passengers home, hotel expenses for relatives, and other sundry expenses. The plane’s two “black box” recorders were recovered, but investigating authorities said that it is still two early to try to retrieve any information from them.

Sunday’s crash was the worst plane crash in Thailand since 1998, when a Thai Airlines jet with 146 persons on aboard crashed under similar circumstances while trying to land at southern the city of Surat Thani, located about 75 km northeast of Phuket. In that crash, 101 people were killed, and 45 survived.

Representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry have opened a command center in Phuket to help administer assistance to Israeli survivors and relatives of both survivors and the deceased. Local F.M. phone numbers in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are available for persons wishing to make inquiries.