Body of Thai woman from Korea stampede returned to family

PHOTO: The body of a Thai woman who died in the Korean stampede has been returned to her family in Phetchabun. (via Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

After the tragic stampede at a Halloween event in Seoul, Korea, the body of the Thai woman who died in the crush has been returned to her family in Thailand. Natthicha Makaew was a teacher who had been studying the Korean language before she was crushed in the Halloween stampede in Itaewon. The 27 year old studied to be certified to teach Korean in Thailand.

Her body has been repatriated to her family’s home province of Phetchabun. Nicknamed Khru Barn, the woman’s body arrived back in Thailand via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday. Her father and other relatives received her body and transported her home.

The grieving father recounted seeing her off on her flight to Korea, never expecting it would be the last time he would see her alive. As he struggled to deal with the loss, the family brought her body to a local temple for funeral rites. The five-day ceremony is taking place in the Lom Sok district at Wat Pak Huai Khon Kaen at Tha Khao village Moo 8 in tambon Nong Khwai.

The family was met at the airport by South Korean Embassy officials who covered the cost of flying her body back. Moon Seoung-hyun, the South Korean ambassador to Thailand, led the group and offered strong condolences to the deceased woman’s father and her family. On November 9, the Ambassador will host the funeral, as well as be present at the cremation the next day.

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Khru Barn is just one of 156 people who lost their lives when over-exuberant partygoers, celebrating after two years of not being able to enjoy Halloween due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the narrow streets of the Itaewon district of Korea’s capital city, as it became busier and busier, people were pressed together and unable to escape. Dozens were crushed or suffocated in the pandemonium.

After the devastating stampede, the district was declared a special disaster area so that authorities could have full access and be able to give financial support to the relatives of those who died. Khru Barn’s family will also receive compensation from Thailand’s social security act, which covered her as she worked in Bangkok before moving to Korea.

Her insurance was still active for six months after she left her job so she is eligible to receive 50,000 baht for her funeral expenses and 15,500 baht from her age pension plus interest. The payout should be made within three days of receiving an official death certificate from Korea. The insurance, along with the embassy paying for repatriating her body is very helpful for the family that was borrowing 400,000 baht to cover these expenses.

Northern Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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