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Heavy drinking blamed for Brit’s fatal tuk-tuk tumble

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PHUKET: Excessive alcohol consumption has been blamed for the British woman’s fatal fall from a Phuket tuk-tuk during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The sole witness to the incident, Paul Henry Fortuna, 30, told police in his statement that 29-year-old Elizabeth Corrigan was feeling sick from drinking and attempting to cross from her side of the tuk-tuk to his when she tumbled out of the back of the vehicle, explained Kamala Police Superintendent ML Pattanachak Jakkapan.

“We have found CCTV footage of the tuk-tuk after it had picked the pair up from Soi Bangla and started its journey to their hotel near Surin Beach,” said Col Pattanachak. “The video does not show the driver speeding or being reckless.”

Yongyuth Damkong, 44, told police that he was only going about 40km/hr as he ascended a hill between Patong and Kamala when Ms Corrigan fell out.

“Mr Fortuna said that it occurred at a bend in the road and she just lost her balance and fell out. He tried to grab her, but missed,” Col Pattanachak said. “He shouted to the driver, who then stopped and phoned rescue workers.”

Ms Corrigan was rushed to Patong Hospital and then transferred to the better-equipped Vachira Phuket Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

In addition to being emotionally distraught, Mr Fortuna’s blood-alcohol level was too high for him to give a statement to police later that day, explained Col Pattanachak.

Ms Corrigan’s father, who went to the Kamala Police Station, voiced his concerns about the design of the tuk-tuks on Phuket, Col Pattanachak said.

“He asked why they didn’t have doors to prevent such a tragic accident. We listened to his concerns and will be passing his suggestions on to the governor, as well as the Phuket Land Transportation Office.”

Despite the evidence already collected, police have yet to conclude the case, as officers are still waiting for a report determining whether or not the tuk-tuk is roadworthy.

— Kongleaphy Keam

 

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