Songkran road toll in Phuket: 2 dead, 40 injured

PHUKET: Phuket recorded its first two road accident fatalities of the 2008 Songkran Festival, as two male teenagers riding motorbikes were killed in separate accidents in Kathu on Sunday.

The first victim was identified by the Phuket branch of the National Road Safety Monitoring Center as 15-year-old Chakkrit Titprong. K. Chakkrit was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital following a collision with another motorbike just before 1 am near a curve on Route 4020 near the Tung Tong Market.

K. Chakkrit, who was riding a black-and-gray Honda Click, was pronounced dead not long after his arrival. Doctors said an initial examination revealed that he suffered massive internal injuries including at least five broken ribs and a broken collarbone. They suspect complications resulting from a punctured lung as the cause of death.

The driver of the other motorbike, 19-year-old Anuwat Netmanee, suffered injuries to his head and left arm and was also rushed to hospital.

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Pipat Nuwong, 15, who was riding pillion behind K. Chakkrit at the time of the crash, survived without serious injury. He was reported saying that they were returning to K. Chakkrit’s home on Soi Kathu Waterfall after celebrating the new year in Phuket City. Anuwat, coming from Seekor Intersection, was trying to overtake a pickup truck when they collided.

It was not reported which of the boys, if any, was wearing a crash helmet.

In the second fatality, 27-year-old Ranong native Suchart Jitmung died instantly when he crashed into a power pole on a downhill curve between Kathu to Koh Kaew about 8:45 pm. He had suffered massive trauma to his left hip and left leg, which was torn off near the knee.

His crumpled Honda Wave motorbike was found partially submerged in a ditch nearby.

K. Suchart had been a backhoe operator for a construction company in Kathu.

It was reported that police found evidence at the scene indicating that another vehicle hit the K. Suchart from behind, forcing him to crash into the power pole.

After the third day of the Seven Days of Danger campaign, the Phuket branch of the National Road Safety Monitoring Center reported that 40 people involved in 36 accidents had required hospital treatment.

Thus far in Phuket police at nine checkpoints have inspected 32,364 individuals and charged 3,257 people with offenses.

The most common infraction has been not wearing a crash helmet (1,979 cases), followed by driving without a license (1,043), drunk driving (107 cases), not wearing a seatbelt (71) and driving an unroadworthy vehicle (57).

There have been no arrests for speeding in the province since the campaign began, according to official figures.

Nationwide, the death toll for the three first days of the seven-day danger period rose to 180 when 76 people were killed and 1,103 others were injured in road accidents on Sunday, it was announced yesterday.

In response to the higher-than-expected death toll this year, Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung told reporters he was keen on banning booze sales on the first and last days of the celebration in the future, but would do so only after first consulting the public.

Further tightening restrictions on the hours alcohol can be legally sold might also be considered, he added.

Phuket News

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