FLASH FLOODS swept a pickup into a canal in Ranong province on Saturday night, with one of the victims going missing and feared dead.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has predicted heavy downpours and associated risks for several southern provinces including Ranong, Trang, and Phuket between last Saturday and Wednesday.
Ranong’s disaster prevention and mitigation chief Kittipon Wuttipongpat said yesterday that the pickup accident happened near the Wang Phak Bung Bridge in Suk Samran district during a tropical storm.
“A couple were inside the pickup when it was swept off into the water and sank. The male victim survived but his wife has gone missing,” Kittipon said.
Rescuers searched for her throughout Saturday night, but could not find her or locate her body, he said.
Sutas Kaewpradit, the village head of Moo 5 area where the accident occurred, said the missing victim was Nokkaew Namsantiah, 39.
“Her husband, Samart Namsantiah, was the driver at that time. He managed to get out of the vehicle after it plunged into the water,” Sutas said.
The village head said it was unclear whether Nokkaew could have managed to escape too.
“But after a long search, we located the pickup floating in the water at 7am on Sunday,” he said, “We managed to bring it up by 11am but could not find anyone inside”.
In Phuket, a storm yesterday uprooted trees, electricity poles and billboards in many areas.
A big banyan tree over a century old fell on Narisorn Road in Phuket’s Muang district, blocking traffic in the area.
The fallen tree also damaged a small shop. By luck, no one was harmed.
“Had it collapsed onto my house, my wife and children would have been injured,” said Wuttichart na Pangchang, who lived near the big tree.
He said he was sweeping in front of his home when he heard a big bang.
“When I looked back, the tree was down already,” Wuttichart said.
In Trang, big waves had already damaged more than 10 houses and sank several small fishing trawlers moored near the coast.
Trang Governor Siripat Patkul warned fishermen to be cautious about going to sea as the waves could be a few metres high.
He also advised relevant authorities to nudge tourists and locals to be very careful about venturing into the sea.
According to Siripat, people in the province must brace for natural disasters related to heavy downpours and rough seas over the next few days.
“With a tropical storm hovering over the western South of Thailand, there are risks of heavy rain, flash floods, landslides and mudslides,” he said.
Relevant agencies in Trang are now preparing rescue and relief operations.