Straight out of the pages of the ‘You Had One Job’ book is the video above, recorded last Wednesday (November 8) evening on the Bangna-Trad road (Debaratana Road), in Samut Prakan Province, just outside of Bangkok. A five vehicle road crash involving a flatbed truck, a BMW, a songthaew, and a 14-wheel articulated vehicle saw road crash rescue workers roll out to provide assistance.
The clip above begins with the reporter rolling up hot to the scene of the accident, his camera recording his vehicle navigating around banked up 18-wheelers and other traffic slowing to look at the carnage on the other side of the road divider.
The edited clip skips over scenes of the injured being treated on the side of the road and cuts to some time later when road crash rescue workers prepare to pull the truck off of the overturned BMW.
As preparations are finalised a voice, later identified as being that of the @BaaBinNews reporter, tells the road crash rescue workers that because fuel is leaking from the vehicle they should first remove the battery. The reporter is told not to worry and a road crash rescue worker can be seen standing by with a fire extinguisher. The truck is barely moved before fire erupts beneath the overturned BMW.
A Thai police man takes the fire extinguisher from the rescue worker, but unable to get it to operate, retreats. A road crash rescue worker empties another fire extinguished in the direction of the blaze from an ineffective distance as the truck is pulled free, but it seems that two fire extinguishers is the limit as no further attempt is made to extinguish the blaze.
Screams can be hard coming from off camera, and the reporter is heard shouting back that he had “told them to take out the battery”, several times.
He then shouts at the police, telling them to remove their motorbikes from close to the flaming wreck, causing a flurry of activity, as the fireball engulfing the BMW continues to grow in intensity. Meanwhile, Thai drivers, unfazed by the prospect of the vehicle’s fuel tank exploding, continue to crawl past the blazing vehicle, the notion of perhaps closing the road appearing not to have occurred to the police.
While fire fighters appear to arrive quickly in the edited version of the clip, the full version shows it took about ten minutes before they were on site and getting water onto the flames.
Local media reported that four people were injured in the road crash and all had been transported to hospital before the fire started. The driver of the 14-wheel truck was reportedly assisting police with their inquiries. No mention was made of improving fire extinguisher proficiency levels among Thai police or road crash rescue workers.
While considerably improved over the past five years, road crash rescue in Thailand is mostly carried out by well meaning volunteers from self-funding, foundations. As such, the skills available at any one accident can vary greatly, while Thai police suffer from similar capacity building needs, adding to the risks of travelling in a country graded as having the second mostly deadly roads in the world (See: Playboy Bunny Fearz Poonnada Killed Drunk Driving in Thailand).
Feature video @BaaBinNews
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