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Tourist in ICU after Samui safari pick-up truck flips



PHUKET: A Russian tourist remains in intensive care after a safari pick-up truck flipped onto its side on Koh Samui Saturday afternoon.

Koh Samui police chief Paitoon Krajajang has vowed to track down the driver, Vanich Sridon, 29, who fled the scene.

“He is wanted for reckless driving, causing injury,” he said. “We have dispatched officers to track him down.”

Mr Vanich, working for the “Funny Day Safari” tour company, was taking 11 tourists and one Myanmar national to the Tarnim Waterfall on the Khao Pom Road when the accident occurred at about 3:30pm.

“We were told that the truck was going too fast when it arrived at a sharp curve,” Col Paitoon explained. “Mr Vanich lost control of the vehicle and it flipped onto its side, throwing all 12 passengers out of the truck.”

Mr Vanich immediately fled the scene, Col Paithoon said.

Police identified the passengers as:

Ms Esther Mawovani, 59, American
Ms Elena Kostenko, 32, Russian
Mr Vasily Kotov, 30, Russian
Ms Aha Mclisa Mocah, 11, Romanian
Mr Damut Ravel Mocah, 53, Romanian
Mr Zoltan Toth, 46, Hungarian
Ms Helga Balazs, 38, Hungarian
Mr Grodan Crnkovic, 35, nationality not reported
Ms Jacqueline Creach, 61, nationality not reported
Ms Ulla Vibeke Collins, 70, nationality not reported
Mr Zavi Manovni, 64, nationality not reported
Ms Nanyin Wai Win, 23, Burmese, suspected of being an illegal tour guide

Rescue workers administered first aid at the scene, before taking all 12 to Koh Samui Hospital.

Ms Kostenko suffered a broken leg, broken pelvis, injured spleen and lung damage. She remains in intensive care, police reported.

The 11 other passengers, including Ms Nanyin, suffered minor cuts and bruises.

The tour company has arranged for the 10 tourists to be transferred to a private hospital to receive treatment.

“This type of incident damages Thailand’s tourism industry,” Col Paitoon said. “We will find the driver as fast as possible. We will also pursue charges with Ms Nanyin for working as an illegal tour guide.”

— Suchat Hankij


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