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Phuket heroine for a day: Bus staffer Bootsaya Kamlangmakcharoen

Phuket Bus Crash Heroine Hailed: Remarkable Rescue Photos

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Remarkable Rescue Photo Album Above

PHUKET police are pursuing the road-weary driver of a tour bus that crashed on Patong Hill today, killing one man and injuring 41 other passengers, three of them seriously.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nuan was the only driver on a 1300 kilometre four-day, five night round trip from Phuket to the north of Thailand - and he overturned the two-level bus within a kilometre or so of ending the trip in Patong, on Phuket's west coast.

As Phuket police hunted the luckless driver, rescuers hailed his fellow worker, the female attendant on the bus, as a heroine. Bootsaya Kamlangmakcharoen made calls instantly to the police, to hospitals and to rescue services - and she was photographed by Phuketwan in a firetruck using the loudspeaker as she continued to mobilise helpers.

Some of the trapped had to be lifted over the upturned bus on stretchers. Foundation workers, nurses, firemen and emergency service teams co-ordinating the tricky task of prising loose the remaining victims.

Given Khun Bootsaya's performance, today appropriately marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. Whether it also marks a change in attitude towards the concept of drilling a tunnel through Patong Hill to replace the treacherous, winding track between Phuket City and Patong remains to be seen.

Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, leading advocate of the six billion baht engineering project, went to the crash scene late this morning as police tallied the official toll: one man dead, 41 injured, three seriously.

The three badly hurt are being treated in Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City.

Thirty-six more are in Patong Hospital, which coped with the brunt of the pain because the road to better-equipped hospitals was blocked when the bus tipped over and slid on its side to the roadway verge.

One person is being treated in Bangkok Hospital Phuket, also in Phuket City.

Patong Police Superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao of Kathu station said that no matter how much safer a Patong Hill tunnel might seem, there would still be the potential for disasters. Safety experts say virtually every road rule would need to be enforced on Phuket before a tunnel could be declared a safer proposition than the treacherous hill route.

The effect on Phuket's economy of having its main lifeline cut for hours today was being assessed. It was certainly inconvenient, with departing and arriving tourists forced to travel south via Chalong or north through Surin, but officials at Phuket International Airport detected no additional issues.

The Phuket bus tour of 55 people, led by the president of the Motorcycle Taxi Club of Patong, Somchai Neawnan, left Patong on March 2 with Khun Nuan at the wheel.

There was to be an exchange of drivers along the way, but the replacement driver called in sick, so Khun Nuan opted to go the entire distance alone.

He almost made it all the way back today - except for that final sharp turn on the Patong Hill descent.
Phuket's Big Patong Hill Bus Crash: Photo Special
BUS CRASH PHOTO ALBUM Dramatic images from the Phuket bus crash. Patong Hill was blocked for hours; three of the 41 injured are badly hurt. On board were a total of 55 people.
Phuket's Big Patong Hill Bus Crash: Photo Special

URGENT Phuket Bus Overturns: Passengers Trapped; Patong Hill Closed; Cranes Swing in
Breaking News UPDATE Rescuers were working feverishly to free passengers trapped when a tour bus carrying about 40 people overturned on Patong Hill, blocking the island's economic lifeline for hours.
URGENT Phuket Bus Overturns: Passengers Trapped; Patong Hill Closed; Cranes Swing in

Phuket Boatpeople 'Vanish' from Phang Nga
Latest A source confirms that 35 Rohingya men and boys from a boatload of would be refugees that landed on Phuket have now been moved - and a UN agency would like to know where.
Phuket Boatpeople 'Vanish' from Phang Nga

Phuket Overseas Traffic Soars, Stresses Airport
Latest February brings new record highs in international air traffic to Phuket - and with it the prospect of more crowds and congestion unless action is taken to improve facilities.
Phuket Overseas Traffic Soars, Stresses Airport

The Planet Phuket Project: How Phuket Went Wrong
The Search for Answers Clarity is being sought to solve Phuket's problems with some help from scholars at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
The Planet Phuket Project: How Phuket Went Wrong


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Kudos to Khun Bootsaya and shame on Khun Nuan.

Here we see a direct comparison in character. Khun Bootsaya takes responsibility and the driver shows cowardly and spineless attitude by running away.

The issue of fleeing the scene of an accident should be criminalised ASAP. It's become modus operandi for some who cause an accident.

The tour company should also be subjected to an investigation for allowing only one driver to go on such a long trip.

Rain amplifies the danger of the Patong hill. There are technologies in use that allow rainwater to drain through the porous and somewhat rough road surface. A good example of this are the Autobahns in Germany.

This could be an affordable and immediate solution.

Posted by Chris on March 8, 2011 14:58


Another example of tourists lives being treated with contempt over profits. No single person should be allow to undertake a journey with passengers of that distance. New driving regulations need setting up... 4 hours driving time and then let the other driver take over for the same period. It's safer.

How many bus crashes do we need to have in Thailand before someone actually wakes up?

Thai attitude - never mind just as long as the money rolls in.

Posted by Graham on March 8, 2011 15:34


I see there are plenty of spectators, seems to be a national pastime looking at accidents. Sad but inevitable this would happen on that dangerous road.

Posted by Lord Jim on March 8, 2011 16:34


I think the crash barrier needs to be five times taller.

Posted by Mike Boyd on March 8, 2011 19:45


The driver, who was uninjured in the accident, did not flee the scene and is at Patong Police Station for questioning, despite reports of a police ''hunt'' for him, Patong Police Superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakao told the Phuket Gazette.

Posted by Hockey on March 9, 2011 00:06

Editor Comment:

Hey Hockey, they got it wrong. And you? You often do.

Saturday August 8, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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