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The Big Buddha Hill bend disappears today under a bulldozer

Phuket's Killer Bend Falls Today to a 'Dozer

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
MAJOR roadwork began today to obliterate the killer bend that claimed the lives of six people when a pickup collided with a tourist bus on Phuket on Sunday.

The rapid design change to the camber and width of the dangerous downhill corner on Big Buddha Hill is likely to reduce the risk or perhaps even prevent a repetition of Sunday's tragic crash.

It is believed a consortium of businesses with an interest in public safety and tourism decided that the sharp bend, which last year also claimed the life of an Australian tourist on his honeymoon and left eight other Aussie injured, needed an immediate fix.

Phuket Police Commander Major General Pekad Tantipong gave the immediate go-ahead for the project, recognising that the bend was unsafe.

Workmen in a bulldozer moved in this morning to enlarge the road and end the concern that the bend could kill again.

A truck driver making his way down the hill yesterday overturned his vehicle and later told police he had seen ''bodies on the road'' at the bend.

An agonising series of photographs by Phuketwan journalist Sert Tongdee of a father who lost two daughters aged 12 and three in Sunday's crash brought home perhaps more than words could the human cost.

Five of the six victims were Burmese workers or members of their families. They had been celebrating Burma's New Year holiday at the summit of Big Buddha Hill.

The 45-metre statue, built by Burmese laborers, now deservedly attracts hundreds of worshippers and tourists in all forms of transport every day.

The toll from Sunday's crash was tragically high, yet it could have been worse.

The other vehicle in the collision, a bus holding 15 Australian tourists headed for an elephant camp up the hill, was sturdy and new. None of the passengers on the bus were hurt, apart from superficial cuts, as the pickup, overloaded and out of control, hit the side of the bus and overturned.

The Thai driver and his passengers were due to be cremated in ceremonies at a temple in Phuket City yesterday and today, with the three-year-old to be buried at a cemetery in north Phuket, as is customary for Burmese children under the age of 10.
Phuket Truck Crashes on 'Ghostly' Big Buddha Bend
Breaking News A rubber truck has overturned on a Big Buddha Hill bend, injuring the driver, at the same point where six people were killed in a collision on Sunday.
Phuket Truck Crashes on 'Ghostly' Big Buddha Bend

Phuket's Burmese Coverup: Real Holiday Toll is Eight
Latest Eight deaths marked Phuket's tragic ''seven days of danger.'' The authorised tally is seven. According to officials, Burmese who die without names do not count.
Phuket's Burmese Coverup: Real Holiday Toll is Eight

Phuket Calls Mount for Quick Fix to Killer Bend
Latest Six fresh deaths on a killer corner on a Phuket hillside bring calls for change. A wider, safer road and a shuttle bus to the top are two immediate needs for Big Buddha Hill.
Phuket Calls Mount for Quick Fix to Killer Bend

Six Dead: Time for Action as Phuket Mourns Little Girl in Pink
Distressing Photos A little girl and five others are dead after a collision at a bend that authorities knew was capable of killing. But they did little to fix the problem.
Six Dead: Time for Action as Phuket Mourns Little Girl in Pink

Phuket Big Buddha Tragedy: Six Die After Crash With Tourist Bus
PHOTO ALBUM Six people are reported dead after a tour bus and a pickup laden with Burmese collide on a sharp bend on Phuket's Big Buddha hill. About 20 others are injured.
Phuket Big Buddha Tragedy: Six Die After Crash With Tourist Bus

Comments

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How can the Police give the go-ahead?
Shouldn't it be a Transport authority to do this?

Posted by Tbs on April 20, 2011 15:54

Editor Comment:

The likelihood is that the corner is being rearranged because all authorities saw the need for immediate action, just as Phuketwan did. The barbed wire fence that appeared to be a sign of a claim to ''private'' land is no more. We're not the slightest concerned about the process, but delighted the deed has been done.

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does this mean you will now remove the intrusive photos??

Posted by another steve on April 20, 2011 16:04

Editor Comment:

No. There are 272 reasons in Thailand alone over the seven days of Songkran why we will not remove the photos. If a single motorist is persuaded to drive more safely, the death of the young child and the anguish of her father will not have been entirely in vain.

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Just a few days ago that land had some posts and barbed wire protecting it, now after seeing your pics with the view over the Koh lone i can understand the land grabbing around there must be out of control.
I'm glad it's been reclaimed to protect lives and not self interests.
Hats off to the local administration for moving so quickly or was it the huge public outcry that got things moving?

Posted by Glen on April 20, 2011 16:15

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I've a nasty suspicion that making the road wider and supposedly 'safer' will mean more drivers will take the bend faster.

Posted by Mike Boyd on April 20, 2011 17:30

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It's good to see them move as quickly as they did to repair the road..I hope they move as quickly to ammend some of the laws that involve cramming people into a truck

Posted by sky on April 20, 2011 17:35

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i think the huge public outcry. but why is more emphasis put on the Australian tourist and not the young Burmese child?
But the great thing is SOMETHING HAS BEEN DONE AND QUICKLY.

Posted by rose on April 20, 2011 18:36

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While tt's good to hear that steps are being taken at last to address the danger; allowing overloaded pickup trucks which aren't even designed to carry passengers in the back to continue to operate doesn't constitute improving road safety.

Posted by Xircal on April 20, 2011 22:29

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Great news. Proof that the local authorities CAN fix problems instantly IF they want to.

I have no doubt the publicity by news outlets like PW contributed significantly.

Knowledge is the key to change.

Posted by Chris on April 20, 2011 23:18

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A little late. The recent tragedy could have been avoided if the authorities had taken decisive action after the first fatal accident. Saying that, it's good to see action is being undertaken.

It might have been more cost effective to install a number of speed bumps as this extension may, as others have pointed out, entice drivers to take the bend at faster speeds.

Posted by Graham on April 21, 2011 09:48

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The roadwork already started on Monday, the day after the first accident. Roadwork might have also been partial cause for the rubber wood truck accident since there were extra people and machines moving around and some sand on the road.

Posted by Jimmy on April 21, 2011 15:05

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A PR nightmare averted for the island's great and the good, but at what cost? The power of a single picture can get more done than a million words. At least one good thing can come from this tragedy - no other families will have their lives blighted by this poorly designed stretch of road.

Posted by Scunner on April 21, 2011 18:23


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