Thai carrier Orient Thai leased the aircraft but they didn’t even get round to changing the livery, before it was left to rust at the U-Tapao airport in Chonburi, Thailand. The aircraft now lies in tatters having been unceremoniously broken up and dumped several miles away – by whom nobody knows – in cobra-infested wasteland next to a motorway, which tens of thousands of tourists pass along every day.
A local resident said: ‘’The plane appeared here about two years ago. It hasn’t moved since. I have never seen anybody come to work on it. I think it is too expensive to scrap the plane now so it’s just a home for stray dogs.”
Footage shows how most parts of the plane are still intact – with wings, landing gear, huge wheels, fairings, wing flaps, seats and even the nose tip lying around the land. Several stray dogs can be seen sleeping under a wing which provides shade for them from the sun.
The plane’s call sign N899TH – changed from the earlier 9L-LOR – is still visible. Even the pilot’s joysticks have been left in place, despite most of the computer systems now removed.
The obscure private charter carrier Orange Air was formed in 2005 operating a single Boeing 747 from Sierra Leone.
However, civil aviation authorities here when contacted denied the registration the above-named flight. Speaking to AYVin his Siaka Stevens Street office yesterday, Capt. Kozier, Flight Operation Inspector at Sierra Leone Civil Authority (SLCAA) said: “for the fact that the registration call sign is N8899TH of this Orange Air, N denotes American registration and so that plane was never registered in Sierra Leone.”
He maintained that it is impossible for it to be registered in Sierra Leone because since 2006 the SLCAA de-registered all airplanes. He added however that because Sierra Leone has no planes to register in the first place, it simply means that there were no planes to deregister including the Orange air flight.