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Driver blamed for Phuket tour bus crash

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Driver blamed for Phuket tour bus crash | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Police have given a Phuket tour bus driver seven days to present himself to face charges for the Patong Hill accident that saw 49* university students rushed to hospital Saturday afternoon.

The 32-year-old driver, Manit Sawadee, is to be charged with reckless driving causing serious injury.

The bus Mr Manit was driving plunged backward and slammed into a roadside ditch as he attempted to climb the hill.

All 49 Asian Institute of Technology students on board were rushed to hospital, one of them reportedly sustained serious head trauma in the crash (story here).

“If Mr Manit does not present himself within seven days, we will issue a second summons for him to present himself. If he still fails to turn himself in, we will request a warrant for his arrest,” Capt Witaya Sinchumrern of Thung Thong Police told the Phuket Gazette this afternoon.

Mr Manit will also face charges for causing property damage, Capt Witaya said. The tour bus pulled down power cables and utility poles when it slammed into the ditch.

Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) Chief Terayout Prasertphol today told the Gazette that his officers had inspected the tour bus, and deemed Mr Manit responsible for the accident.

“They reported that the bus driver was at fault, as he was inexperienced in driving over Patong Hill,” Mr Terayout said.

“We checked with the bus company, Tao and Friends Limited Partnership, and the bus had passed its annual safety inspection, and its registration is valid,” he said.

Chanchai Chardsiri, chief of the PLTO’s Vehicle Inspection Division, believes Mr Manit tried climbing the steep hill in the wrong gear.

“We could see that the drive shaft was sheared off,” he said. “We think Mr Manit tried jamming the manual transmission bus into a low gear after it started rolling backward, but the drive shaft couldn’t take the strain.”

Despite police advocating that Mr Manit be charged for reckless driving, Mr Chanchai believes that the driver did his best to recover after the bus had started to roll backward.

“From what we saw during our investigation, the driver did everything he could. We saw the handbrake had been pulled, but when you have more than 20 tons of bus, including people and luggage on board, it is very difficult to recover once the bus starts sliding downhill,” he said.

Mr Chanchai even praised Mr Manit’s efforts to minimize the possible injuries to be suffered in the impact.

“Most importantly, he did not let the bus go down the hill in the same lane he was driving uphill in. If he did, a lot more people, such as those in the cars behind him, would have be injured,” Mr Chanchai said.

Regardless, PLTO Chief Terayout holds Mr Manit fully responsible for the accident and the subsequent injuries.

“It’s all the driver’s fault. An experienced driver would know how to control a bus that is rolling backward. This driver might not have experience driving on such hills,” Mr Terayout said.

“This case is different from brake failure, so officers will not charge the bus company,” he said.

Meanwhile, all 38 students who were admitted to Patong Hospital for injuries sustained in the accident were discharged this morning, confirmed Capt Witaya.

“However, 11 students remain in Bangkok Hospital Phuket,” he said.

“The man who suffered serious head injuries is much better. He is now resting and recovering at Bangkok Hospital,” he said.

The bus was recovered at about 4pm today.

“It took two days to get the right crane and an appropriate vehicle to remove the bus,” Capt Witaya explained.

“It was taken to a vacant lot on the bypass road, where it will stay until the bus company makes the necessary arrangements for it. The bus company will cover all the expenses of recovering the vehicle,” he said.

* The Gazette‘s original report stated that only 44 students were on board and taken to hospital.

— Chutharat Plerin

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

Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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