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Patong Hill today after the tour bus tipped and slid off the road's edge

URGENT Phuket Bus Overturns: Passengers Trapped; Patong Hill Closed; Cranes Swing in

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
NEWS UPDATE II

FORTY-ONE people are being treated after the crash, Patong Police Superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao of Kathu station said at 11.15am. He hopes to have the road cleared ''before noon.''

NEWS UPDATE

Phuketwan reporter Sert Tongdee, at the scene of the tour bus crash, says he saw one woman removed from the wreckage alive at 10.21am and another removed alive at 10.29am. At least one of three pasengers still trapped is believed to be dead. All the passengers are from Patong, returning from a religious pilgrimage. Police have no indication yet when the Patong Hill route, closed since 8.30am, will reopen.

Original Report

A TOUR BUS overturned today on a hairpin bend on Phuket's notorious Patong Hill, leaving about 40 people injured and five passengers still trapped in the wreckage.

Rescuers at the scene were endeavoring to free the trapped while doctors and nurses treated scores at under-equipped Patong Hospital.

Routes to Phuket's major hospitals in Phuket City were blocked by the crash from the time the bus tipped over at 8.30am.

The island's economic lifeline was slashed by the crash, with motorists told to take alternative long routes south through Chalong or north through Surin.

A Phuketwan reporter on the scene said two cranes had been brought in to try to lift the wreckage. He watched two of the trapped freed at about 10.20am.

It is believed the people on the bus were mostly Patong residents, returning from Isarn where they attended the farewell cremation ceremony for one of Thailand's most famous monks.

The bus overturned, one witness said, ''on the last bend descending into Patong.'' The bend comes not far before the temple that marks the t-intersection that leads down to Patong beach.

For years Phuket's notorious Patong Hill has been the scene of tragic crashes and of buses and trucks that have come to a halt while trying to ascend its winding, treacherous route.

The descent is even more dangerous, with buses and other vehicles sometimes sliding off the road surface in wet weather.

A major accident that causes injuries and death and brings Phuket's major economic route to a halt is likely to accentuate calls for a six billion baht tunnel to be built through the hill.

Patong Mayor Pian Keesin has been the most active supporter of the tunnel to free Phuket from disruption and possibly deaths of the kind experienced in today's smash.
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Comments

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"likely to accentuate calls for a six million baht tunnel to be built through the hill. "

Only 6 million baht?

Posted by Nathan on March 8, 2011 11:05

Editor Comment:

Make than billion. We will.

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6 Billion baht.

Posted by mike on March 8, 2011 11:13

Editor Comment:

Yup, thanks.

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Traffic is horrendous around Chalong today, too, I suppose due to drivers rerouting to avoid Patong hill. Sad story - hope it prompts some action in making it a safer drive.

Posted by L on March 8, 2011 12:52


Saturday August 8, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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