Lesley Dowdall and sisters Aoife and Olga Creamer, all from Dublin, had a miraculous escape when the Bangkok Airways flight on which they were passengers skidded off the runway and crashed into a control tower on the holiday island of Koh Samui.

The three women walked out of the plane with only minor knocks and bruises in an accident that claimed the life of the pilot and injured seven other passengers.

Conditions were wet after heavy rain as the flight en route from Krabi to Koh Samui left the runway and crashed into the defunct control tower.

"We were in the 10th row, about six rows back from where [ the tower] came in through our side of the plane, the left-hand side," Aoife Cramer told the Irish Times. "The tower was basically inside the plane so I don't know how anybody who was sitting in those front rows was alive.

"We tried to calm people down . . . Everyone was pushing then and we were just trying to get people off. We ran down the runway. They were telling us to 'run, run, run'. I think they were afraid it was going to going to explode too . . . But I never thought we were goners."

Six tourists and the co-pilot were treated in hospital for minor injuries.

The dead pilot of the ATR72-500 that contained four crew and 68 passengers was named as Captain Chartchai Punsuwan, who had 19 years of flying experience.

"The pilot was killed when the plane hit the unmanned control tower," director-general of the Department of Aviation, Kanika Kaemawuttanont, told Reuters.

The three Irishwomen, all in their 20s, had spent the past few months traveling around South East Asia as they made their way to the island on Koh Samui, a popular holiday resort for travelers.

The trio plan to cancel the rest of their trip and return home to Ireland as soon as possible.

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