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Tuomas Johannes Mustonen, killed in a motorcycle crash on Phuket

Phuket Tourist Killed in Motorcycle Crash on Big Buddha Hill

Thursday, March 8, 2012
UPDATE

The man who died on Big Buddha Hill is Tuomas Johannes Mustonen. Finnish law prohibits publication of his name within Finland without the family's permission.

Original Report

PHUKET: A young tourist from Finland died when his motorcycle crashed off the Big Buddha road last night, Phuket police said today.

The man, aged 32, was killed about 9pm. He was riding using an international licence.

Colonel Boonlert Ong-Kang, of Chalong Police Station, said the man was travelling alone. He had moved on to Phuket after visiting Pattaya, Colonel Boonlert said.

A helmet was found at the scene of the crash but police could not say whether it was being worn at the time.

Phuketwan has his name but will not publish it until relatives have been notified. His body is now in Vachira Phuket Hospital, in Phuket City.

A steady stream of people had been making their way up the hill yesterday to Phuket's 45 metre Big Buddha to mark Makha Bucha Day, a special day in the Buddhist calendar.

Restaurants and bars also dot the route to the top of Nakkerd Hill. It has become popular with Phuket tourists for the views and for ATV rides and elephant treks.

Six Burmese died last year when they spilled from a pickup as it collided with a tourist bus heading up the hill. The bus was purpose-built and the tourists on board escaped injury.

The previous year, an Australian honeymooner died when a tourist bus ran off the road at the same sharp downhill bend where the Burmese were killed.

Within days of the Burmese deaths, the curve was widened and made safer. However, the Big Buddha road remains risky and without proper lighting despite the hundreds who make the trip to the top every day.

The number of tourists and expat residents who have died in motorcycle crashes this high season on Phuket is proportionately much higher than the toll among Thais, with an Australian, two Swedes, a Norwegian and an Indonesian among recent fatalities.

Phuket's road toll is trending lower, despite three recent collisions in a month north of Phuket that claimed the lives of 14 people, eight of them tourists.

A Phuket family of three also died recently in a motorcycle crash in central Phuket.

Comments

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What I find difficult (though not surprising) to understand is the fact that long stretches of the downhill lane still remain unpaved. This results in a lot of minivan drivers driving on the incoming traffic lane to avoid the bumpy gravel ride, with obvious dangers to oncoming traffic.

Paving these stretches should be a very easy, quick and inexpensive way to improve safety on this rightfully very popular site.

Posted by Steve C. on March 8, 2012 10:07

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Steve if I am not mistaken each unpaved section is private property and the owner has the right to leave it unpaved. It could be worse the owners could section off their land and not allow passage at all. Unfortunately It takes years and a lot of money (evidenced by the small section sold in Rawai a while back on the main road) to get some people to do the right thing.

Posted by mike on March 8, 2012 14:18

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@ mike

That may very well be it, didn't think of that. Thanks for pointing it out.

I remember that road section you refer to in Rawai and several people died because of it before the owner finally agreed to sell that piece of land.

I don't know for how much it sold in the end but I remember reading that he refused Bt 400.000 before.

I know land ownership is a touchy subject in Thailand but there really should be a law forcing people to sell their land in such cases, as is the situation most developed nations I know of.

Posted by Steve C. on March 8, 2012 19:08


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