PHUKET TOWN: Seven laborers working in a canal next to the bypass road were rushed unconscious to the Wachira Phuket Hospital today after being electrocuted. The men – six Cambodians and a Thai – were working in the canal when an excavator working alongside them tangled a power line, breaking the cable, which dropped into the canal and electrocuted the workers. The excavator operator, Pia Paandam, 30, escaped injury. He was arrested and is currently being held in police custody. A Cambodian fellow-worker, Paolo, 28, told the Gazette, “The laborers were down in the canal, shoveling sand out of it. The excavator was helping them. The excavator’s arm got tangled with the power line, which snapped and dropped into the water where the men were working, knocking them out immediately. “Me and two other workers were up on the bank but we didn’t dare help our colleagues because, with the power line still in the water, we knew that we would be electrocuted as well. Someone called the police and had the electricity cut off,” he explained. As soon as the power was cut off, staff of the Kusornlatham Foundation, who had already arrived on the scene, pulled the unconscious men out of the canal and rushed them to hospital. A nurse at the Wachira Hospital told the Gazette, “The patients are recovering and are out of danger, though the Thai man is still unconscious. Two of the Cambodians are in good condition but the other four are still poorly.” Pol Maj Thanate Poungmanee of Phuket Town Police Station, who is investigating the incident, said, “I’m waiting for the patients to recover so that I can get statements from them.” The excavator belongs to Teeraphat Construction, a subcontractor on the project. The main contractor on the project, which started in August and is due for completion in October, is Kiattiya Construction Co. The 2.8-million-baht project, for the Vichit Tambon Council, entails digging silt out of the canal and then installing covers over it.
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