At the break of dawn, precisely at 5:30 am, the sleek Fly Dubai aircraft carrying 90 Thai workers peacefully came to rest at the U-Tapao International Airport. The airliner had dutifully brought them back after a harrowing ordeal in the war-torn regions of Israel. The workers were graciously received by several Thai officials, including the distinguished director of the airport.
These resilient workers had initiated their journey back home from Tel Aviv, departing exactly at 11 am on Saturday. Their destination was Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where a fateful transit flight awaited them. Without wasting much time, they embarked on another Fly Dubai plane at 8pm on Saturday, with their hearts brimming with hope of a safe return.
The brave-hearted group symbolized the third wave of Thai workers who have been successfully evacuated since the war between Israel and Hamas brutally erupted last Saturday. This surprise skirmish by the militants across the border instigated this emergency evacuation.
Upon their arrival, the Immigration Police swiftly executed the immigration clearance process while the officials from the Public Health Ministry conducted a thorough health check-up.
The workers, after this tiring ordeal, were comfortably taken inside the terminal building to savor their first meal post their turbulent return. The media persons were not allowed access at this time.
Among the workers, two of them unfortunately sustained leg injuries due to bomb shrapnel and were promptly rushed to a hospital. The remaining workers were safely transported in three spacious buses to the comforting confines of the SC Park Hotel in Bangkok. They were to wait there until their relatives could collect them.
The director of the U-Tapao airport, ACM Sittichai Tangjai, stated that he had been assigned by Air Force Commander-in-Chief ACM Adung Phaniam to heartily welcome the workers at the airport. Sittichai disclosed that the returning group comprised predominately of men, totaling 88, and an addition of two female workers.
The U-Tapao airport staff organized a hearty first meal for these workers. Other distinguishable officials who showered their warm welcome included Rayong Governor Traipop Wongtrailuck and Commander of the Naval Aviation Division, Rear Admiral Duan Prommanee.
Duan stated that a cooperative effort would be put into place with Fly Dubai airline to establish a regular flight operation to airlift Thai workers to the U-Tapao airport once a day.
Ruj Thammamongkol, director-general of the Consular Affairs Department, revealed that Thai workers volunteering for evacuation from Israel are currently stationed at a safe hotel in Tel Aviv, awaiting the rescue operations.
In the wake of this chaos, over 7,000 Thai workers have passionately expressed their wish to return home. The government plans to successfully evacuate all Thais who are keen on returning home.
Weerayut Panyaprachum, a 35-year-old worker who had returned, narrated his harrowing experience of losing a friend in a shell explosion. The vivid memory of the fateful event made him express his joy and relief at having made it back alive to Thailand. He vowed never to return to Israel and prayed for the safe evacuation of his remaining brethren.
Two other workers, Surachai Sommanakhiri, 28, and Chaiya Boonsung, 39, conveyed their gratitude to the government for organizing the rescue flight and helping them escape the terrifying fight, enabling them to return home.