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Flights suspended after Army helicopter crash kills nine

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Flights suspended after Army helicopter crash kills nine | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Flights suspended after copter crash kills nine
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Third Army Area has suspended all helicopter flights in the wake of a Bell 212 crash that killed all nine soldiers on board on Monday evening.

The family of one crash victim said he had expressed concern about the age of choppers at their unit before dying in this latest helicopter accident. The Royal Thai Army (RTA), however, has insisted it has no plans to ground its Bell 212s.

“RTA will continue to deploy the Bell 212 model. All helicopters and aircraft of the RTA receive maintenance in line with aviation safety standards,” RTA deputy spokeswoman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong said yesterday.

Third Army Area’s spokesman Maj-General Tana Jaruwat said all helicopters at his unit would be sent for aviation safety checks at the Royal Thai Army’s (RTA) Aviation Centre in Lop Buri province.

“We have imposed a temporary helicopter flight suspension,” he said.

Fund limitations blamed

Prime Minister and National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former Army chief, said due to limited budget, the RTA continued to use decades-old helicopters.

“But the Bell 212 is also in use in various other countries. In addition, the Bell 212 is newer than many other helicopters the RTA has been using,” he said.

Prayut said he had already instructed RTA chief General Udomdej Sitabutr to take care of the nine victims’ families, ensuring their children would receive education and their families were given proper compensation.

Nine soldiers, including Third Army Area deputy commander Songphol Thongjeen, were killed when their helicopter crashed in Phayao province on Monday evening.

“I was herding my cattle when I heard strange sound from a helicopter hovering above,” 66-year-old witness Tuan Boonplod said.

Helicopter out of control, says farmer

He said at first it seemed the helicopter was about to land but suddenly it appeared to be out of control.

“Then, something hurled out from the helicopter’s direction and the aircraft banged into the ground causing loud noise and fire,” he said.

Tuan said he wanted to help but the fire was very hot and explosions followed.

Soldiers yesterday cordoned off the area around the crash site so that experts could gather evidence to determine the exact cause of the accident.

Bathing rites with royally-granted water for the victims were held at the Khuha Sawan Temple in Phitsanulok province yesterday.

Spokeswoman Sirichan said the family of each crash victim would receive between Bt2 million and Bt6 million in compensation and financial help. The RTA would also posthumously promote them to higher military ranks.

Worries about aging equipment

Surin Pungraksa, an uncle of Sergeant Major Sompop Malaiwong, yesterday revealed his nephew complained about old helicopters at his military unit just a few days ago.

“He visited us in Angthong province on Saturday. During the visit, he said his camp in Phitsanulok province was full of old aircraft. He wanted to move to a camp in Lop Buri instead,” Surin recounted.

The uncle said he was shocked when he found from news reports that Sompop was one of the victims killed on Monday.

“I’d never thought he would face such a thing. He was a good man and a family man. Now, his wife is seven weeks pregnant,” Surin said.

Pachern Pheunfoong, an uncle of Colonel Yuttapong Pheunfoong, also lamented his nephew’s death.

“I was very close to him because his parents were dead. He was like my son,” Pachern said.

He described Yuttapong as a good man who was nice in personality, and neither drank nor smoked.

“If possible, I would like to beg the RTA to please use modern and safe aircraft for its personnel. Don’t put anyone’s life at risk,” Pachern said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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