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Flights suspended after Army helicopter crash kills nine

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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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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29

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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29 | The Thaiger

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“Pattaya Model” to focus on Special Tourist Visa visitors from China and Russia

Firstly the Phuket Model, now the Pattaya Model as the eastern seaboard city wants to cash in on the new Special Tourist Visa scheme to help boost the local economy.

City officials say they’ll focus on drawing in Chinese and Russian tourists on the new long stay visa. The city mayor says that last year, there were 3 million Chinese tourists visiting Pattaya, followed by Russian tourists with 1.1 million.

Potential travellers would be from cities in Russia and China that are considered to be at a low risk for Covid-19. The mayor mentioned St. Petersburg in Russia and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China.

Along with accommodating tourists under the Special Tourist Visa, the mayor says they are planning for other travellers that are approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The nearest international airport to Pattaya, U-Tapao, remains closed to international traffic.

Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

A special tourist visa updates and it seems the Thai government is opening up categories that would be able to apply for the new STV.

Now cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the STV. The new measure will be made official in the next 30 days.

Captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk will be able to dock in Thailand and enter the country, of course after doing their 14 day quarantine and all the other STV paperwork.

Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions in Buri Ram, north east Thailand.

Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the conflagration. Many people were injured, currently we don’t don’t have the latest toll.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire.

Court bans Thailand’s first transgender MP over alleged media interests

An MP from the Move Forward Party, one of the opposition parties, has been banned and could face jail time after the Constitutional Court found the MP guilty of violating a law prohibiting media shareholdings for MPs.

57 other MPs were acquitted over the same offence.

Tanwarin is Thailand’s first ever openly transgender MP in the House of Representatives and an advocate for LGBTQ rights. The MP is also a former actor and filmmaker. The Court looked into lists of shareholders and found “irregularities,” saying information had been fabricated to make it appear that she wasn’t associated with the media companies.

The Election Commission may also decide to press charges on Tanwarin. If the commission finds her guilty of breaking the law on elections, the MP could face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a 20,000 baht fine and a ban from taking part in elections for 20 years.

Thanathorn and 4 others charged over Pathumwan flash rally

Meanwhile, the Pathumwan Municipal Court has accepted for trial the prosecutors’ indictment of Thanathorn, the former Future Forward leader, and four others relating to a flash protest rally on the Pathumwan skywalk last year.

All five were present at the court today. The indictment concerns their rally on the elevated BTS walkway at Pathumwan intersection on December 14 last year.

Prosecutors charged them with organising the rally without giving prior notice, organising a rally that affected train services, organising a rally that blocked people from using a public place, using loudspeakers without permission, rallying within a 150 metre radius of a palace, and resisting officials’ orders to stop the rally.

19 dead, 40 injured, many missing in Vietnam typhoon

Vietnam deployed soldiers and heavy machinery to search for survivors after landslides triggered by torrential rains from Typhoon Molave, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades.

Landslides, which hit remote areas in the central province of Quang Nam on Wednesday, killed at least 13. Rescue efforts are being hampered by bad weather at the tail end of the storm.

The Vietnamese government said Typhoon Molave had left millions of people without electricity and damaged at least 56,000 houses.

26 fishermen also remain missing after their boats sank when trying to return to shore on Tuesday. Molave is moving westward through Laos now and will dump rain in northeastern Thailand into the weekend.

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Josiah Weiss

Cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the Special Tourist Visa. The new measure hasn’t been made official yet, but it will go into effect 30 days after it’s published in the Royal Gazette.

The Cabinet approved the new guidelines yesterday which allows captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk for spreading Covid-19 to dock in Thailand and enter the country, according to deputy government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Visitors must go through a 14 day quarantine. Those on yachts will quarantine onboard before stepping onto Thai soil, according to the Bangkok Post. They must also have Covid-19 health insurance of $100,000 USD as well as local health and accident insurance. Proof of advance payment for anchoring the liner will also have to be provided.

The Special Tourist Visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to around 9 months. So far, only 2 flights of foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa have arrived after a 7 month ban on international tourists.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions. Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. People trying to douse the spreading flames found they were just pushing the flaming fuel further down the road, 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the fire. Many people were injured, but there is no exact count.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24 in the Isaan province Buri Ram. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion. There were a series of explosions as the fuel spread and nearby residents fled their homes. People tried to put the flames out with tap water, but fire continued to spread.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire. The oil company was called to safely unload 30,000 litres of fuel that was left in the tanker.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

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