A chilling vehicular tragedy unfolded earlier today in Phuket, adding another dark chapter to the province’s alarming traffic accident record. Amidst a persistent rainstorm, a bronze Toyota Vigo pickup truck spun out of control and crashed into an electric pole on Thepkasattri Road, near Kwuan Din Daeng Junction in Ratsada district. The accident resulted in two fatalities – the driver, an unidentified man, and a local electrician, 25-year-old Sarak Panpong.
The truck, reportedly travelling at high speed, skidded off the rain-soaked road. The driver, estimated to be between 30-35 years of age, was killed on impact. His body remained trapped against the steering wheel due to the force of the collision, necessitating rescue workers to use cutting tools to extract him from the wreckage.
In a twist of tragedy, Sarak Panpong, an electrician who was ascending the electric pole to install cable lines, was also killed when the vehicle hit the pole. The force of the collision catapulted him into the nearby woods. Sarak’s body, bearing multiple injuries, was found some distance away from the crash site.
Phuket’s Traffic Accident Crisis
Phuket, a major tourism hub in Thailand, has been dealing with a significant traffic accident crisis for years. The Royal Thai Police reported in 2020 that Phuket had 66.42 accidents per 100,000 population, a rate considerably higher than the national average. As of 2021, Phuket was among the regions with the highest rates of road traffic accidents in Thailand, contributing to the country’s overall traffic fatality rate, which ranked among the world’s highest.
While motorcycles are involved in most accidents in Phuket, pickup trucks, like the one in today’s incident, also frequently feature. The local government has been attempting to address the road safety issues through measures such as stricter enforcement of traffic laws, driver education programs, and infrastructure improvements. Yet, incidents like today’s fatal accident underscore the challenges faced by the province in reducing traffic fatalities, especially during adverse weather conditions.
Sarak’s colleague, Saraphon Hao-hin, who narrowly escaped the fatal accident, recounted the harrowing ordeal. Saraphon revealed that he was standing near the pole, ready to assist Sarak with cable installation, when the fatal collision occurred. He was reportedly only a few steps away from meeting a similar fate.
Phuket City Police are currently conducting an investigation into the accident. They are working to identify the driver of the vehicle. The entire incident was reportedly captured on a nearby CCTV camera, which is expected to aid in the investigation. Meanwhile, the bodies of the deceased have been sent to Vachira Phuket Hospital for detailed post-mortem examinations to establish the exact cause of death.