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Air-crash mystery hero steps forward

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Air-crash mystery hero steps forward | The Thaiger

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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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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