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Three of the four tourists' bodies from the minibus crash today

Four Tourists Killed, Phuket Holiday Coast Toll Soars: Minibus Driver Flees

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Warning: Graphic Photo Album Above

PHUKET: Four Phuket tourists have have been killed in a Saturday evening collision on the main road north of Phuket - a pileup that brought the total toll in that area to 14 dead in three horror smashes in just over a month.

Five more tourists have been taken to hospital, some to Phuket, and three are in a critical condition.

The driver of the tourist minivan is believed to have fled on foot amid the carnage.

Killed were three women and a man. They were identified as two Russians, a Turk and a Ukraine citizen, according to police.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision, Chamnan Dabkeaw, 25, waited at the scene as paramedics and police arrived.

He was carrying crates of fish off Phuket. The tourists were returning to Phuket after a day trip.

The crash occurred about 6.20pm near Paita, a short drive off Phuket.

The latest tourist tragedy is likely to bring to a head concerns about safety on the popular holiday coast roads north of Phuket, especially between Phuket airport and destinations in Khao Lak, a short drive north.

Five people - including four young Swedish tourists - died in a horrific crash on February 1 on the road north of Phuket.

They were heading off from Phuket to continue their dive holiday and were killed instantly, along with the Thai driver of their rented car, when a fish truck lost control, became airborne, and crushed them.

Another five people travelling on a local bus that was clipped by an overtaking ''local taxi'' BMW were killed on February 18 as the bus returned from a funeral on Phuket.

The bus ran off the road into trees, injuring 24 passengers, some seriously.

The third mass fatality on the same stretch of roads will elevate concern about safety standards among minibus drivers and unregistered taxi drivers to the highest level.

The road north of Phuket has sections where the highway is divided and appears safe and other sections where the road narrows and twists.

The crashes - all in Phang Nga province, north of Phuket - appear to have mostly happened on sections where high speed, not road design, is the problem.

Virtually no controls exist in the Phuket region to educated the drivers of minibuses and local taxis about safety standards.

Authorities admit there are no controls governing taxis and minibuses on Phuket. No formal registration and no training conditions are imposed.

Enforcement of speed limits is nonexistent.

In Mission Hospital on Phuket tonight were Lazina Svetlanarat, 28, .Labeznaya Galina, 56, Serkan Tinc, 33, Medvedeva Nadejda, 59, and Sepdakor Alexandaras, 54.

Comments

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Ed. whats different? same sad scenerio different day. "lip service" from thai leadership nothing more. honorary consuls have bent over backwards diplomatically for years addressing problems. it's time now for the consuls to issue travel warnings to their citizens until the thai leaders change with action. RIP to those who died.

Posted by john s on March 3, 2012 20:32

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Why was i not surprised when i read this article. Same same but not different!

Posted by Nick on March 3, 2012 21:01

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I know it's breaking news and the details are sketchy in some respects but I hope it wasn't tourists being " forced " to do the mandatory visa run after their entry permit / visa stamp had expired, that would really suck.( Unfortunately nor would they be the first to be killed or injured having to leave and return to this beautiful country for no tangible or economic reason. ) Never again will I take a drive from Phuket to Ranong in a mini van.

Sounds like another fish truck only this time going the other way. Same company by any chance? At least the driver waited at the scene, maybe his legs were broken.

These mini van drivers have no concern for themselves, their passengers or other road users.
Even further evidenced by 'legging' it having no regard for his dead, dying and injured passengers.

Ed. I hope you're right, these stories are no longer "news" they are simply statistics.

" The third mass fatality on the same stretch of roads will elevate concern about safety standards among minibus drivers and unregistered taxi drivers to the highest level."
I sincerely hope this becomes fact, even innocent bystanders have had enough.

Posted by innocent bystander on March 3, 2012 21:18

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I had to double check the date before reading this article. Sadly another horrendous traffic accident in the same area. I have driven all over Thailand & used to state that you could always tell when you arrived on Phuket due to the appalling driving & road manners. That now appears to have been extended to some way north of the island on both the Phang Nga & Kao Lak roads as tourism expands northwards (both resorts, day trips & the repugnant visa runs). I suggest the police authorities reassign some of their shiny new police cars to policing the main roads, rather than tootling around Patong, Kata/Karon & Chalong, where they achieve little. I have moved my Thai family to their home area of Korat & am shortly to follow. Phuket has degraded in every aspect to the point that even the Thai authorities in Bangkok are beginning to sit up & take note ... BUT way too late & so far no action.

Posted by Logic on March 3, 2012 21:58

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Innocent bystander- why cast aspersions on the other driver? At least he had the guts to remain at the scene, possibly indicating it wasn't his fault. Any trip down Thepkassatri road demonstrates the recklessness of minibus drivers as they weave in and out of traffic to gain a whole five seconds of journey time.I shudder to think what it must be like to travel in one of these busses. Yesterday travelling back from the airport I witnessed at least five close calls before the Thalang traffic lights. Unfortunately the carnage will continue with no solution in sight unless there is a serious intent to crack down on reckless driving.

Posted by Mister Ree on March 3, 2012 22:02

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You would have to be crazy to get into any mini van here but unfortunately there are many people that don't know any better .
When are drivers going to stop this carnage and wake up to themselves and act responsibly or the government comes down hard on drivers that do 160 kms per hour overtaking over double lines, for example .

Posted by P win on March 3, 2012 22:20

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RIP.

I had my worst experiences of driving on Thai roads on the VISA runs, ehm, races to Ranong. Full loaded mini vans, nobody seams to notice the seatbelt. The red bulled driver overtaking and speeding the way north (never been so fast through towns like Takuapa). But I thought, they are seasoned speeding drivers, fast reflexes, not too crazy overtaking attempts but then again, the full loaded speeding minibus take some time to decelerate, so we had some near collisions with cars entering the road and straying dogs and suddenly turning motorbikes. I think if they would drive near the 90 km/h mark it would be much safer, then their driving at 130 km/h.

My feelings go to the victims of this accident and one really seems to notice, that the pick up driver did not jump the scene. Hope the inured ones will recover fast.

Posted by Lena on March 3, 2012 22:35

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So. So, sad..

Driving in Thailand, is very very dangerous., drive at your risk.. Its a national pastime, just to drive as fast as possible and have no concern for safety.

Posted by james on March 3, 2012 23:08

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I did a visa run to Malaysia a few years back, in a mini van from a reputable company here on Phuket. The driver got more sleep behind the wheel than the passengers. He managed to kill 4 dogs, two cats and then had the good sense to entertain us by crashing into a wall at a garage. Since then I have never been in a mini van. I fly now when I do a visa run and go to Singapore instead. Professional drivers in taxis or mini buses are often far from that, professional.

Posted by Dun on March 3, 2012 23:26

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I just saw in the local news here in California there is a benefit of some kind for Solomon Kahn who was killed in a Bangkok taxi last month. The story is getting a lot of play here. Apparently he was a popular DJ.

Posted by NG on March 4, 2012 07:38

Editor Comment:

Yes, we carried that in PhuketWATCH.

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Phukets busdriver......unscilled, dangerous and irresponsible. time to learn how to drive or get off the streets!!!!!

Posted by wolf on March 4, 2012 08:01

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i would like to know where they were going and what company was the minibus from ? i think this are very intersting questions. Even a foreign owner is possible. why not blame the owner?

Posted by mike on March 4, 2012 11:23

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So the Thai officials, TAT and police just dont care , is that it ??????

Posted by elizabeth on March 4, 2012 12:45

Editor Comment:

Caring and doing something are quite distinct things.

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The "might is right" law of the jungle seems to dictate driving rather than any respect for non imposed traffic regulations.

I took the bus from Phuket to BKK rather than fly after a diving accident and the driver regularly approched 150/160 kph, driving like a maniac into oncoming cars that were forced to swerve to get out of his way. The Thai passengers on the bus were oblivious to the dangers and simply slept like lambs the whole night. Like so many things here, there's no accountability.

Posted by Barry on June 18, 2012 12:44


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