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Sun, August 13, 2006 : Last updated 20:58 pm (Thai local time)



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Home > Headlines > Student in coma after Skytrain tragedy





Student in coma after Skytrain tragedy

A university student was in a coma yesterday after jumping in front of a moving train at Asoke Skytrain station at about 8.10am.

The man - identified as Theerasak Sittidamrong, a 22-year-old student of Ramkhamhaeng University - was taken to Police General Hospital.

Police found Theerasak unconscious on the track, with serious wounds to his head, back and hips, after being hit by the train.

Doctors said he was in a critical condition and in a coma.

The Skytrain service was suspended for almost an hour along the main Sukhumvit Line where the incident took place, but operations continued normally on the linked Silom Line.

A notebook found near Theerasak contained a message - presumed to be in his handwriting - in which he appeared to say farewell to his parents, brother and friends.

"I did many things wrong, and drank so much that I could not control myself," it read.

Ekkasit Sittidamrong, the 31-year-old brother of Theerasak, rushed to the hospital on hearing about the incident.

He said he and his brother had argued the night before about Theerasak's behaviour, at their home in Samut Prakan province. His brother then left the residence at about 2am.

"I just warned him to stop drinking and save his money. We didn't have a serious argument. When he left, he told me not to worry about him. He said he just wanted to go out to meet some friends," Ekkasit said.

This appears to be the first time since the Skytrain began operating in late 1999 that someone has been hit and injured by a train. The system had previously had no major accidents.

Dr Anat Arbhabhirama, an adviser to the board of the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTS), which operates the Skytrain, told a press conference the company had feared such an incident would eventually happen, as it is a frequent occurrence in places like Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"We are sorry for the family of the injured person and will try to find a way to help him," he said.

BTS conducts drills twice a year, including how to respond to an incident where someone jumps in front of a train, Anat said, adding that the most recent drill had been conducted in February.

The company has not publicised the suicide drills for fear that someone might be prompted to leap in front of a train, he said.

Anat said BTS would adjust and toughen its security measures following yesterday's incident

Asked whether the Skytrain would install two-layered glass doors on platforms - as on the subway system - Anat said the main purpose of such doors was to save energy, although they did have the added benefit of enhancing security.

There are no such glass doors in the elevated-rail systems in Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong, he said, insisting that BTS would do its best to find a way to prevent any reoccurrence of yesterday's suicide bid.

Anat revealed there had been two or three other occasions when BTS security guards had saved people from suicide leaps. However, on this occasion the student hid before leaping in front of the train, and the guards failed to notice him.








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