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.