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Air-crash mystery hero steps forward

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Air-crash mystery hero steps forward | The Thaiger
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PHUKET CITY: Australian Robert Borland, who was pulled from the burning wreckage of One-Two-Go Flight OG269 on Sunday by a “man in a yellow shirt”, finally had a chance to thank his savior in a meeting arranged yesterday afternoon by the staff of Bangkok Phuket Hospital, where both men are being treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

The hero was identified as Paiboon Phaphan, a 39-year-old air-conditioner mechanic and resident of Village 3, Tambon Pa Khlok, Thalang.

K. Paiboon, who suffered a back injury and walked to the meeting supported by a brace, told the Gazette in a weak voice that he was not a regular flyer and was returning from Bangkok with his boss at the time of the accident.

“I am still afraid to fly now. I think it will take some time before I will be able to fly again,” he said.

Mr Borland, 48, a 10-year resident of Phuket and a tsunami survivor, suffered a broken bone in his back and was trampled by passengers desperate to escape the burning fuselage. Thanks to K. Paiboon, he was among the last to make it out of the plane alive.

“Other people were trying to escape, and many of them were stepping over and on top of me. I was also on fire. My trousers were burning… I couldn’t get out of the aircraft, but I think there was a Thai man and he had a yellow shirt on; he dragged me through the emergency exit and onto the wing.

“Because the wing was slippery, I slid off it and fell to the ground. I was seated in the aircraft’s midsection, near the wing and the emergency exit, which was quite lucky for me,” he told the Gazette earlier.

After meeting Mr Borland, K. Paiboon recounted his own memory of the chaos. “It was raining very hard and the landing was very hard, much harder than usual, so I put my head down and braced myself against the seat in front of me,” he said.

“After we crashed with a loud bang everything went dark and a fire broke out in front of me. Then I heard a farang behind me and I saw him push open the emergency exit door.

“I was able to breath only twice because the air was burning my nose. When I managed to get out I was standing on the wing and I saw many passengers following me.”

K. Paiboon said he waited on the wing until his boss, K. Chaowalert, and his son Jumbo had escaped.

After they had safely made it out he noticed Mr Borland, with his legs on fire. Ignoring his own bleeding head wound, K. Paiboon pulled Mr Borland out onto the wing before looking back inside for more survivors.

When he looked back, Mr Borland was gone so he assumed he had slid off the wing and fallen to the ground.

Also, Jumbo became stuck in the mud below when fell off the wing. K. Paiboon pulled he boy to safety and then went to look for the boy’s mother, who was thought to be still inside the plane.

“I called but nobody answered, then the fire trucks began to arrive and they told me to come down,” he said.

K. Paiboon said he feels better now and has been cleared to leave the hospital, but will stay for a week to receive the physical therapy he needs because it is too difficult for him to travel back and forth from home in his condition.

K. Paiboon’s mother told Gazette that her son, a former soldier, had always been a good son and liked to help other people.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton



Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers

Jack Burton



Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

Officials have raided 2 Phuket casinos resulting in 87 people being arrested for allegedly gambling after the island’s provincial police received complaints of gambling dens operating around the clock – a violation of the current Emergency Decree which bans crowds.

The first raid took place at about 3:30 pm and was at a casino in tambon Talat Nua of Muang district. The premises provided parking spaces for motorcycles and up to 30 cars, and was fenced on all sides with metal sheets. Officials arrested 45 gamblers-30 men and 15 women. They also seized 62,420 baht that was placed as wagers and a gold necklace that was 15 grams in weight.

Around the same time, a second team raided another casino tambon Sisunthon of Thalang district in Phuket’s north. It was also fenced with metal sheets and featured an ample amount of parking space. 42 people- 22 men and 20 women- were rounded up with police seizing 64,260 baht in placed wagers.

All have been charged with illegal betting and violating the Emergency Decree which was recently extended through July.

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today

Jack Burton



Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today | The Thaiger

Today is the official reopening of Phuket’s famous (or infamous) “Soi Bangla” nightlife district, but only about 20% of venues say they’re reopening during this early stage. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday that all night entertainment venues may reopen but must strictly adhere to health guidelines set out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the CCSA, says night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and beer gardens will be allowed to open, but only until midnight. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and customers must use the Thai Chana app to check in and out.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association president says only about 20% of the 324 registered members are expected to reopen initially, but he expects more to reopen soon. Among the 22 rules announced last week- to be presented to the CCSA for approval- were that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, and all drinks are to be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no dart games are to be allowed.

The number of guests in each venue is to be restricted to cater for social distancing, with at least 2 metres between tables, or partitions must be installed to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undercutting the main reason people visit popular venues, the draft rules also call for groups to be limited to 5 people, and for guests to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting, or “wandering around the premises”.

“I have no idea what the rules will be, but we will open anyway. If the full list of 22 rules for pubs, bars and entertainment venues is to be applied, we won’t be able to enforce all the rules, because enforcing all these rules is impossible. But we can follow some of the rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures.”

Even Patong’s mayor told The Phuket News that she is yet to receive a copy of all the rules to be enforced.

“The next thing to do is follow up with the CCSA about the rules. This is very important for the entertainment industry in Patong. I will help and consider being flexible with the rules for entertainment businesses in Patong, because the rules announced by CCSA are the general rules for many places. But some of these rules are not appropriate for businesses here. We have to apply the right rules and optimise them for businesses in Patong.”

The PEBA president dismissed a few entertainment zones being singled out in other countries as “hotbeds for starting a second wave” of Covid-19 infections.

“I do not care what some people claim is the risk of being in a bar. If the government is genuinely concerned about the risk of Covid-19 spreading, then it is not just about bars, pubs and entertainment venues. The risk of Covid-19 spreading applies anywhere where people are around, not only at bars and pubs.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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