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An ambulance was forced to go the long way around and the patient died

Patient Died When Phuket Protesters Forced Krabi Ambulance to Turn Back, Says Paramedic

Sunday, October 11, 2015
VIDEO The Battle for Phuket's Thalang Police Station

PHUKET: In a shocking postscript to the 15-hour protest on Phuket last night, a Krabi rescue group has revealed that a patient died on his way to Thalang Hospital after the angry mob blocked an ambulance from getting through.

The Rescue Group in Facebook carries a post from an anonymous ambulanceman saying that the vehicle, carrying a seriously ill man from the nearby province to a better-equipped hospital on Phuket, was forced to turn back when the hundreds of protesters on Thepkasattri Road would not allow the vehicle to pass.

Late tonight, the driver told Phuketwan: ''I was shocked by the experience. Two nurses were in the ambulance, taking turns in administering cpr to the man.

''He'd had a heart attack. His daughter was travelling with him. You can imagine how we all felt when the crowd would not let the ambulance through.

''The detour added many precious minutes that shouldn't have been necessary.''

The grief felt by the families of the young men aged 22 and 17 who were killed when their motorcycle crashed yesterday is understood and felt by fellow residents. Their deaths were the trigger for the long, anarchic protest.

But it's difficult to imagine how the families and their friends will feel when they learn that a man has died in an ambulance, forced to take the long way around because of the actions of protesters

The anonymous ambulanceman's posting says he was deeply frustrated in not being able to get through the crowd. Some protesters even marked the vehicles with kicks or hits.

Forced to turn back, by the time the ambulance eventually reached the Thalang Hospital - just several hundred metres from the Thalang Police Station, which was under siege from the protesters - the ill passenger was dead.

''I would like to also know why you beat the ambulance from Krabi,'' the paramedic asks in the Facebook post. ''Don't you understand that ambulances carry seriously ill people?''

The protest by about 500 people ended after 3.30am when about 200 troops arrived at the scene, having been trucked in from the province of Nakkon Si Thammarat, about five hours' drive away.

It was agreed yesterday at a meeting between Baan Don residents and Phuket authorities that an independent committee should investigate claims made by the family and friends of the two young men killed in the motorcycle crash.

The committee will report within 30 days. Firebrands among the protesters are said to have been responsible for turning the peaceful protest into a violent one.

Fourteen police were injured in the assault on the police station, with nine cars torched and 13 others damaged. Five motorcycles were also wrecked. The station was severely damaged.

Four policemen that the protesters wanted to confront have been transferred off Phuket.

The death on board the Krabi ambulance is likely to be added to aspects of the night of anarchy that should be investigated.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Selfish people Suck.

And cause deaths too.

Posted by farang888 on October 11, 2015 21:48


Could the army not have used tear gas and rubber bullets to spread the mob in order to let the ambulance car pass?

Posted by Kurt on October 11, 2015 21:58


What a sad sad story. These violent hooligans should be arrested for what transpired yesterday and jailed and I hope it happens. The death of an innocent man on his way to hospital is on these protestors hands. Arrest and jail them.

Posted by Ciaran on October 11, 2015 22:05


Although it is convenient to blame the blockade, some serious questions should be asked as to why a critical care patient was transported in this matter. Thailand can afford to purchase submarines, but still does not have a basic air ambulance service.

Posted by Ryan on October 11, 2015 22:34


What has happened to the people of Phuket?
Have they lost their humanity, that life in all forms must be saved.

Posted by reader on October 12, 2015 00:13


Another example of the pack mentality that seems to be endemic in Phuket

Posted by Shwe on October 12, 2015 05:53


This behaviour is nothing new in Phuket.
A factory that the protesters didn't approve of was burnt down in 1986 by a 1000 strong mob.

Posted by Sir Burr on October 12, 2015 07:36

Editor Comment:

There is no comparison, Sir Burr. Every blockade is different. In some cases, all other avenues in seeking justice have been exhausted. That was certainly the case with the Tantalum factory in 1986 - but not with the weekend riot. Local authorities also weren't there as peacemakers at the right time at the weekend. They should have been. The right to protest in the streets is legitimate. But it's evident that the weekend rioters had not exhausted all other means for seeking justice. Once the hotheads took charge, police were injured and an ambulance was forced to take a much longer route. Those who chose violence should be punished. I believe destruction of the Tantalum factory, costing the government millions of dollars, was accepted. The plant should never have been built on Phuket without consultation. A bit like the movie museum on the Nai Harn foreshore . . .


This is so sad. Accountability... where is it? Accountability on ALL levels.

Posted by Duncan on October 12, 2015 08:08


ED, your comment seems to justify mob behaviour and arson if "all other avenues in seeking justice have been exhausted".

You're wrong.

Posted by Sir Burr on October 12, 2015 09:25

Editor Comment:

My comment doesn't ''seem to justify'' anything. Your ability to read and accurately interpret what you read is the problem, Sir Burr. As intelligent readers know, PW is opposed to all violence. Peaceful street protests are permissible, when all other attempts at gaining justice have been exhausted.


I support those families, the video is clear, the police truck deliberately rammed those young men and the police would have not been punished but for this protest, which regrettably got out of hand.

Posted by Sam C on October 12, 2015 12:30

Editor Comment:

There is no way of knowing whether the police would have been punished or not, Sam C. Guesswork is not ideal. Now it's in the hands of an independent investigation. That could have been achieved without violence.


Sick & tired of mob rule - in Phuket - or anywhere else in the world - it allows the thugs & idiots free rein to permit bad behavioral acts they know they could not get away with under normal circumstances.

Posted by Logic on October 12, 2015 12:56


But in the US these protesters would have been branded terrorists and mowed down with guns.

Posted by daman on October 12, 2015 14:42


wenn you read the newspaper every week they take drug travelers and dealers from the streets ! they have always guns and weapons and every thai know that this people mostly not stop when police controls same by accidents 50% of the accident the drivers speed away dear editor what shall the police do ??? my question who owns the cars and motorbike what are burning who pay ?? the men who stop the ambulance killed also somebody for sure nobody find him when the boys stop like every thai and farlang has do do than would be happen nothing correct !!!!

Posted by donaldo on October 12, 2015 21:48

Editor Comment:

We've always said that police pursuits on Phuket's motorcycle-packed roads would be too dangerous and we still believe that's true. Turning back the ambulance was shocking but it will be difficult to prove that delay was a cause of death.

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