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Tragic Accident in Khao Kitchakut National Park Claims Life During Buddha’s Footprint Festival

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Underneath the emerald canopy of Khao Kitchakut National Park, a scene unfolded on Thursday morning that was as heartbreaking as it was unforeseen. A passenger pickup, which only moments earlier had been filled with the laughter and anticipation of adventurers, now lay overturned, a somber stillness taking the place of joy. This incident occurred amongst the lush landscapes of Chanthaburi, casting a shadow over what was meant to be a day of celebration and reverence during the park’s annual Buddha’s Footprint Celebration festival.

In a tragic turn of events that morning around 8:30 AM in the serene Noen Sai area of Khao Kitchakut district, the journey of ten souls—a group comprising seven enthusiastic Thais and three intrepid Russian tourists—was abruptly halted. They had been returning, hearts full and spirits lifted, from visiting the sacred Buddha footprint, a journey that symbolizes both physical and spiritual exploration. However, fate had a grievous twist in store.

The vehicle, a grey passenger pickup helmed by the 30-year-old Todsaphorn Saowaphong, met with a harrowing accident merely 700 meters from the Phra Bat Luang checkpoint. This vehicle, known to many as a regular shuttle ferrying visitors to and from this revered site, became the unfortunate stage for a heartbreaking drama.

The aftermath was a solemn tally of loss and injury. Among the passengers, 28-year-old Yuppharet Thanaporn’s journey ended far too soon, leaving behind a silence in the wake of what should have been an endearing adventure. The incident also left nine others grappling with their injuries, among them were Lilila Gabdnakhmanova, Ahiia Ilinava, and Khammatov Almaz, hailing from Russia and aged 59, 60, and 54 respectively, who had journeyed far seeking enlightenment and adventure only to be met with adversity.

The story also profiles Thais who shared this fateful journey—Pisit Pibulnurak, Surattana Hammatov, Wimol Phonudom, Naruemon Phongwan, Thani Apibalsri, and Wachirawitch Pornthanapa. Each of them, with ages ranging from 23 to 32, carried their own tales and dreams into that pickup truck, dreams that were momentarily eclipsed by this tragic incident.

Chanthaburi’s governor, Monsit Paisanthanawat, shed light on the preliminary investigation, pointing to the treacherous road conditions veiled by the morning dew as the culprit behind this tragedy. In response to this unfortunate event, he has appointed Mr. Chawin along with Thitikamol Sukyen, the venerable Khao Kitchakut district chief, with the solemn duty of orchestrating compensation efforts for both the lives irrevocably altered and the one tragically lost.

As the sun set over Khao Kitchakut National Park that day, it did so with a heavy heart, reminding us all of the unpredictable nature of life’s journey. The road, much like life, is filled with unexpected turns. Sometimes it brings us joy, other times sorrow. What remains is the resilience of the human spirit, the undying hope that even in our darkest hours, there is light, understanding, and the possibility of newfound wisdom from our shared experiences.


  1. traveljunkie101 February 29, 2024

    It’s such a tragedy to hear about accidents like this during what’s supposed to be a beautiful journey. Makes me second guess the safety of road trips in lesser-known tourist spots.

    • Samantha February 29, 2024

      I totally get where you’re coming from, but we shouldn’t let fear control us. It’s all about being prepared and making smart choices.

      • ConcernedMom February 29, 2024

        Preparedness is one thing, but no amount of preparation can control external factors like weather or other drivers. It’s always a risk.

    • adventureseeker22 February 29, 2024

      Exactly, avoiding all risks just means you’re avoiding life itself. Accidents happen everywhere, even in your hometown.

  2. local_resident February 29, 2024

    This is heartbreaking, especially for our small community. Khao Kitchakut is usually a place of peace. This has been a wake-up call for all of us.

    • eco_warrior February 29, 2024

      I hope this incident doesn’t deter tourists from visiting. It’s crucial for our local economy, and the natural beauty here is something everyone should experience.

    • privacy_advocate February 29, 2024

      While tourism is important, maybe it’s time to reassess the impact on our local environment and safety standards. We can’t just think about the economic benefits.

  3. risktaker February 29, 2024

    Life’s inherently risky, folks. This is a tragic event, but it’s also an outlier. You’re more at risk driving to work every day.

    • SensibleSue February 29, 2024

      While I understand your point, I think it’s about managing those risks responsibly. This might mean stricter safety regulations or vehicle checks for tourist areas.

  4. history_buff33 February 29, 2024

    It’s tragic events like these that bring to light the delicate balance between preserving tradition and ensuring safety in modern times. The Buddha’s Footprint Celebration is an important cultural event, and it’s sad to see it overshadowed by such a tragedy.

    • modern_minimalist February 29, 2024

      Tradition is important, but not at the expense of human lives. Maybe it’s time to modernize our approach to these events, ensuring everyone’s safety.

  5. John February 29, 2024

    Every time I read stories like this, it just strengthens my resolve to push for tougher road safety laws. It’s not just about individual responsibility; we need systemic changes.

    • FreedomLover February 29, 2024

      Tougher laws are fine, but at the end of the day, it’s on each of us to be careful and mindful of our surroundings. Government can’t solve everything.

      • John February 29, 2024

        Sure, individual responsibility is key, but without a framework that encourages safety, it’s not enough. We need both.

    • LegalEagle February 29, 2024

      Agree with John. It’s about finding the right balance between freedom and safety. Laws help set the baseline for that balance.

  6. Sally February 29, 2024

    Does anyone know how the tourists are doing now? Such a horrific experience to go through, especially being so far from home.

    • traveljunkie101 February 29, 2024

      Last update I saw said they were receiving medical care. It must be so tough being in a foreign country dealing with this.

  7. compassionate_soul February 29, 2024

    Let’s not forget to send our thoughts and support to everyone involved, especially the family of the person who lost their life. Beyond the debates and blame, there are real people suffering right now.

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