Tragedy and carnage have unfolded at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival area in Phuket Town, after a car ploughed into the area, killing one. At least 7 others have been injured, although some Thai media outlets are reporting higher figures.
The actual event doesn’t start until this Sunday evening.
Phuket City Police were notified yesterday afternoon that a silver-coloured Mercedes Benz had driven into food stalls on the narrow Ranong Road, behind Wat Kajorn Rangsan, in the Talad Nuea sub-district.
The street was still open to traffic and due to be closed from tomorrow, October 14, as the annual 10-day festival doesn’t officially get underway until Sunday. However, many food stalls had already been set up, meaning space was very limited. Officials are now coming under fire on social media for having not closed the road earlier to keep people safe.
Police and emergency workers arrived on the scene to find one unnamed 49-year-old man who was pronounced dead in front of the Mercedes sedan. Another 7 people were injured and taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital. The Mercedes vehicle was severely damaged, along with 3 other cars in the area, around 7 motorbikes, and several food stalls.
The driver of the Mercedes has been named as 62-year-old Aroon Thongsarn. She has been taken to Phuket City Police station for legal processing. According to Pratueng Phonmana, chief of Phuket City Police, witnesses say Ms Aroon first drove into a motorbike that was to the left of her vehicle, then appeared to lose control of the car.
There is speculation that instead of hitting the brake, the driver may have panicked and hit the accelerator, ploughing into other vehicles and several people. The Phuket Express reports that police have conducted a blood alcohol test but the results have not been made public.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express