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Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob visits a young crash survivor in hospital

Phuket Tour Jeep Crash: One Dead, 10 Hurt

Friday, January 15, 2010
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AN AUSTRALIAN tourist is dead and eight other Australians have been injured after a tour jeep ran off the Big Buddha road in southern Phuket today and toppled down a steep embankment.

The vehicle came to rest after crashing into an adventure park and injuring a young elephant, tethered to a stake.

The dead Australian, married in Sydney a week ago, was honeymooning on Phuket. His wife is among those in hospital, and she is now in a satisfactory condition.

Aimee Malonzo, nee Dykstra, 26, whose husband Michael, 26, was killed in the crash, held back tears this afternoon as she told what happened.

Mrs Malonzo said she believed the driver missed a gear change or the gear slipped in taking a sharp left hand-bend on the steep descent.

The tour jeep hit a parked car and flipped off the road and about 10 metres down an embankment about 11am.

Mrs Malonzo, a dance teacher from Camden, suffered a fractured pelvis.

''We had just been enjoying a ride on some elephants,'' she said. ''My parents are flying out from Australia and they will be here late tomorrow.''

Among the injured were brothers Tori Giles, aged 14 and Tylar, aged 11 from Bridgetown, Western Australia. Their mother suffered a broken arm.

While the passengers were all Australians, they had been picked up by a tour minivan from various resorts.

The Malonzos were staying at the Moevenpick Resort in Karon and the boys were staying with their mother at the Horizon Resort, also in Karon.

Two Thais, the driver and his companion, were also injured in the crash.

The vehicle belonged to Siam Safari, one of several tourist-related businesses that have opened on the six-kilometre climb to the 45-metre Big Buddha statue, at the top of Nakkerd Hill in Chalong.

Another elephant adventure camp was where the tumbling jeep came to rest after collecting a young female elephant named Tongkom.

The five-year-old elephant was treated by handlers for wounds to its trunk and was reported to be recovering.

Phuket's Governor, Wichai Praisa-ngob, was distressed to hear of the crash and visited the injured at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, this afternoon, presenting Mrs Malonzo with a large basket of fresh fruit.

The Governor offered Mrs Malonzo any assistance she might require and said he would answer her call around the clock.

With him were officials from the Public Health department and nine representatives from Phuket Red Cross.

The hospital named the injured as Aimee Dykstra, Nicole Wilmot, 24, Tylar Giles, 11, Tori Jay Giles, 14, Dannet Lea Roberts, 49, Sarah Louise Korver, 11, Margaret Korver, 41, Susan Rose McNelis, 16, Authai Choichana and the driver, Damrong Teamsamer, 35

All are in a satisfactory condition, and four have been admitted for further treatment. It was the second death of an Australian tourist on Phuket so far this year.

The first victim, a well-known Sydney lawyer, was on holiday on the island with a female companion, also from Australia.
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Comments

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This is very sad news. And when, with all the donations that are being received, when will the road actually be fully surfaced?

Posted by Jamie on January 15, 2010 14:40

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Tragic end to a honeymoon, I say. Condolences to all.

Posted by Graham on January 15, 2010 15:40

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Very sad, my deepest condolences to the family.
But haven't we seen it coming? Siam Safari-Jeeps are driven no better than the Tuk-tuks!

Posted by herbert on January 15, 2010 20:43

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This is the second Australian killed in a traffic accident this year. Should not people who have to drive other people do a better driving test than the usual one (I have done it and it's a joke).

My condolences to the widow. Seems to happen a lot. My sister's childhood friend lost her husband on her honeymoon in Phuket when the balcony collapsed in their hotel room.

That was 10 year ago though, before any proper reporting here

Posted by Michael on January 15, 2010 21:11

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Thailand is NOT safe !

Posted by kasperle on January 16, 2010 01:28

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How many more lives have to be lost? This is a absolute tragedy, this couple were suppose to be on the most memorable holiday of their life.

If the Governor wants to be of some assistance then PLEASE put some action into place so no other person has to go through this tragic loss again.

Think of how this girl is suppose to get through something like this.
We all love you Aimee and will help and support you in any way that we can. God Bless xxx

Posted by Jacquie Dacich on January 16, 2010 06:50

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A tragedy for the family; but can any criticism of the driver or Siam Safari be left until there is an investigation? Easy to drag out the 'bad Thai driver' rhetoric.

The driver would hardly have done this on purpose; we live BB hill near the accident site, see the SS drivers every day, I would not criticise their driving on the hill in any way, it is very steep, road often in poor condition and they drive sensible there in my view.

Editor: There's often a knee-jerk response among expats who fail to do as you suggest. The road is clearly not as good as it should be . . . growing traffic and wet weather will make it increasingly dangerous. Cars also come to a halt rapidly on one corner the minute that elephants in an adventure park come into sight. More tragedies can be expected on the Big Buddha road unless sensible changes are made. The only explanation so far for this accident, as Phuketwan learned from survivors, is a missed gear. Signs all along the top part of the road advise drivers to use low gear. These signs are not so evident in the lower part of the road, where descent around sharp bends is equally hazardous. The reality is the road has become much busier before being improved, when the improvements should have come before the increased traffic.

Posted by Glenn on January 16, 2010 07:52

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Condolences to all involved. Terrible event to happen on a honeymoon or a holiday. I hope the remaining in hospital fully recover.

Major works need to performed not just on this road but on all roads in Phuket. I also fully agree with Michael that anyone in the tourist/transport industry should have to do a more stringent test than the joke of a road-test that is standard.

Driving a vehicle with 8 passengers on a steep road requires considerable skill and should require a specialist test.

To the editor, you always seem to be quite negative when expats raise problems with Phuket and highly defensive of how Thais govern or manage things, but surely Thais in positions of power are responsible for:

The poor condition of roads.
The lack of policing of drivers of all nationalities on the roads including the use of seatbelts.
The lack of road-worthy testing of vehicles.
The lack of a proper licencing test to ensure all users of the roads are properly skilled and able.

The proper policing and management of the above issues will surely help reduce the grotesque annual road toll here in Thailand.

Editor: Too many expats are swift to criticise and slow to seek realistic solutions. Phuketwan's advice is: the way to clear up local corruption and lack of funding is through complaints to ambassadors and the Bangkok government. Constant carping online serves no useful purpose..

Posted by Jimmy on January 16, 2010 09:21

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@Editor: "Constant carping online serves no useful purpose.."

- yeah, but it makes us feel better. Please don't go all "Thaivisa" on us. The Thai apologists on that site make me want to puke.

Editor: I don't waste time on chat sites but comments from thaiweary, thaiwary, and other nitwits and nihilists won't air here.

Posted by Mike Boyd on January 16, 2010 13:54

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the driving laws need to be enforced more, they drive around like idiots.
RIP Michael.

Posted by Natalie on January 17, 2010 07:04

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Editor, I see you "wasting your time" everyday with snide, pettily defensive retorts that diminish this publication's respectability.
I guess getting your own personal, highly biased opinion in print is more important than maintaining an appearance of objectivity.
Fortunately for PhuketWan, your partner makes up for your unprofessional attitude - for now, that is.

Editor: Readers can determine for themselves whether my responses are apt. There is no reason why any professional cannot be objective, yet express personal opinions in an appropriate context. Please show a little more respect for the victims of this tragic crash.

Posted by MediaWatch on January 20, 2010 15:20

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I was in the above crash on January 15 and I would like to contact a lady traveling on a bike that day who stopped to help us, she said that she was a nurse. I remember her reassuring voice and would like to say a very big thank you, from all of us.

Posted by Dannet Roberts on January 24, 2010 19:02

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anybody know here ... about a girl who died recently 4 to 6 days ago her name was nicole, plz tell me what happened with her?

Posted by sahib on August 29, 2010 16:24


Wednesday October 5, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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