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A badly burned man sits up to say 'I don't know what happened'

Phuket Disco Horror: Swathed Survivor Says, 'I Don't Know What Happened'

Friday, August 17, 2012
PHUKET: A blaze swept through an after-hours disco on Phuket today, killing two men and two women and injuring 11 others.

The fire left the Tiger Discotheque in Patong's Soi Bangla walking street a blackened mess. It broke out about 3.55am - almost two hours after closing time.

The identity of those killed is not known. Four French tourists were among those injured, one seriously with burns to 40 percent of his body.

The burned man spoke to Phuketwan today from his hospital bed about the fire, but could only say: ''Tiger Disco? I don't know what happened.''

Forensic police moved in to the blackened disco as ambulances carried away the bodies, brought out from a side entrance through the iconic gaping jaws of a tiger.

At Patong Hospital, the bodies were laid out in a ground-floor cavity, where they will be more closely examined in an effort to establish their identity.

Upstairs, Benjamin Tallanotte, 30, was being treated for second degree burns to 40 percent of his body. The hospital listed others treated for less serious burns as Nycolas Robyn, 25, Mathieu Lagrange, 40, and Yasmine Khelaef-Humber, 31, along with seven Thais.

Ironically, a large meeting of Phuket resort managements, local authorities and police was planned for today at a Patong resort.

The meeting, called in the wake of the murder of Australian tourist Michelle Smith in a knife attack in June, was cancelled after news of today's blaze spread.

The Phuket region has had an unprecedented series of tourist tragedies this year.

Eight people have drowned at Phuket's popular west coast beaches, and two more were killed in a whitewater rafting tragedy north of Phuket.

Two Canadian sisters died in mysterious circumstances at a resort on the popular holiday island of Phi Phi from what appeared to be a toxic reaction.

Four Swedes and a Thai driver were killed in a crash that also occurred north of Phuket.

Then came Michelle Smith's murder in June.

Today's fire is the worst in a Thai nightclub since the fire at the Santika in Bangkok on new year's eve 2009 killed 62 revellers.

Checks for safety were made on Phuket after the Santika fire, and the Tiger Discotheque was one of the nightclubs inspected by the Phuket Governor at the time.

Today the blackened skeleton at the rear of the Patong disco revealed little about what had happened inside.

In the trash alongside the Tiger exit lay a high-heeled pair of women's dancing shoes.

Phuket's Governor and all three Phuket vice governors were in Bangkok today for meetings about next year's Phuket budget.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Dear editor,
On July 1, you wrote an editorial claiming there was "no evidence" to support the claim Phuket was "no longer safe for foreigners and Thais". Today, you're admitting that "the Phuket region has had an unprecedented series of tourist tragedies this year" and listing a litany of deaths and injuries. If this isn't evidence showing Phuket isn't safe, what is it?

Posted by Phil Smith on August 17, 2012 10:02

Editor Comment:

An unprecedented series of tourist tragedies.


Such a tragedy.
So sorry for the loss of these innocent peoples life, because someone is too concerned about saving money on safety. The owner should be held responsible, but we know that won't happen.

Posted by Tbs on August 17, 2012 10:03


@ Tbs. Until a reason for the fire is established, your pointless speculation is ridiculous.

Posted by THE Clown on August 17, 2012 10:36


The manager of the Tiger Discotheque, Tamrongsak Boonsak, said the fire broke out about 2am.

PW reports that it actually broke out at 3.55am, way past the legal closing time.

I'm sure PW has solid sources for this information, otherwise such an exact time would not be published.

That is one amazing disparity.

Highly unlikely that the opening time had anything to do with the cause of the fire but it does suggest that laws and regulations are not necessarily adhered to at Tiger.

Since Tiger Disco is kinda hard to miss, it would be challenging for authorities to deny they knew about it.

Posted by Andrew on August 17, 2012 11:28


Clown - whoever owns the building is responsible for the safety of everything inside.

Andrew - We all know it was past 2am. Even the interview of the girl in the other story, said she went there at 2:30 AM

This will be bringing serious consequences to Patong with Bangkok asking questions as to Why are these venues open at 4am?
It's time to hit the "saving face" machine.

Posted by Tbs on August 17, 2012 14:01


Posted by THE Clown :
@ Tbs. Until a reason for the fire is established, your pointless speculation is ridiculous.

Doesn't matter, what reason caused the blaze: The owner is responsible for having customers in there, after the official and legal opening hours!
Maybe the fire couldn't be avoided (Until a reason for the fire is established, it's pointless speculating), but the loss of lives and the injury of people could have easily!

Posted by ??? on August 17, 2012 16:42


The owner is already saying that Insurance will cover any compensation that Tiger incurs, but surely the Insurance will be invalid if they were operating outside of the regulated hours?

Posted by phuket madness on August 17, 2012 16:59


When you make a building of high flamable foam there is toxic when burned, it have to end bad !!!

Transformers placed less then 1 meter from building sides, and these decorated with high flamable foam, it was waiting to happen !
But for sure all go free, they just pay out a few bugs and the show will go on !

Posted by karsten on August 17, 2012 17:27


The meeting, [about safety]... was cancelled after news of today's blaze spread.


Posted by j on August 18, 2012 10:15

Sunday June 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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