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Phuket mob rises after accident kills two



PHUKET: Phuket’s top officials have called an emergency meeting today to discuss new strategies for road safety at the Kor En curve on Thepkrasattri Road after an accident there yesterday killed one woman and an infant on a motorbike.

The curve, on the main road to Phuket Airport the main resort areas on the island and Phuket Town, was the scene of a fatal accident in 2006 that sparked a mob closure of the road and the ensuing 15-million-baht reshaping of the curve to make it safer.

Tah Chat Chai Police Duty Officer Lt Col Watcharin Jiratikarnwiwat said he received a report of the accident yesterday at 5:10pm.

At the scene was a four-door Toyota Vigo pickup truck that had slammed into a motorbike lying smashed nearby.

Of the three who were on the motorbike, 47-year-old local resident Malai Kaewkluan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Saijai Boontaeng, 31, and a boy aged two to three years old, were rushed to Thalang Hospital.

The boy was reported to have died from his injuries this morning.

No injuries of the occupants traveling in the Toyota Vigo pickup truck were reported.

“Villagers said that the truck was traveling toward Phuket Town and the driver lost control in the rain. The pickup then collided with the motorbike that was joining the main road,” Lt Col Watcharin said.

The accident sparked a mob of hundreds of people demanding government action to make the road safer.

As they did in 2006, the villagers yesterday overran Thepkrasattri Road, forcing traffic on Phuket’s major artery to a standstill.

The mob disbanded at about 7:45pm after Phuket Vice Governor Somkiat Sangkaosuttirak and Phuket MP Raywat Areerob arrived to hear the villagers’ grievances in person.

“The curve has caused so many accidents in the past four years that it is now called the ‘100 bodies’ Curve’,” said Vice Governor Somkiat.

He said he agreed with the villagers’ proposal to install a concrete barrier to restrict southbound traffic to one lane.

However, he said he would raise the villagers’ alternative suggestion – of installing two more southbound lanes at the curve – at the meeting today.

— W Wittawat / W Temram


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