Nong Than to spearhead safety drive

Nong Than to spearhead safety drive

Nitcharee or "Nong Than" Peneakchanasak, who lost both legs in a train accident in 2011 in Singapore, will spearhead a campaign calling for the Airport Rail Link (ARL) and the Bangkok Mass Transit System, known as BTS, to install safety barriers between tracks and platforms at all stations, her father said Sunday.

Kittanesh Peneakchanasak told the Bangkok Post his daughter is now enrolled on a two-month English course at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Before leaving for Canada, she learned of a tragic accident last week at Ban Thap Chang station in which a pregnant woman was killed by a train after she fell on to the track.

Ms Nitcharee is determined to help lead a railroad safety campaign upon her return to Thailand in August, Mr Kittanesh said. Mr Kittanesh said his daughter was deeply shocked by the accident.

The woman, identified as Rosarin Plianla, 31, was hit by a train at 7am. According to police, Rosarin, originally from Wiang Sa district in northern Nan province, was about six months pregnant and was about to take a train to Hua Mak station.

"When Nong Than learned of the accident, she questioned why ARL had not installed safety barriers and gates between its track and platform and why nobody at the station did more to help her at the time given the train was still some distance away," he said.

"I think my daughter's determination to help campaign for railroad safety will help prevent future railroad accidents."

He said his daughter has done much to campaign for disabled people to gain better access to public transport, such as urging the BTS to set up lifts at all elevated stations.

Ms Nitcharee, now 21, is a second-year student at Thammasat University's Faculty of Mass Communications.

She fell on to the tracks at the Ang Mo Kio station in Singapore on April 3, 2011, while waiting for a train. The oncoming train severed one of her legs below the knee, and the second had to be amputated during treatment.

She and her father returned to Singapore to seek justice against the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), but she failed in her court bid to seek damages from either operator. The High Court found the defendants were not at fault for her injuries and dismissed her claims.

On a variety TV programme, Ti Sip Day, Ms Nitcharee was selected to work as a "surveyor" of patient happiness in a new initiative boost of patient morale at the Nonthaburi-based Medical World Hospital.

She, together with 11 surveyors with diverse backgrounds, from psychiatry and nursing to news reporting and singing, will be given a monthly budget of a million baht over a six-month period. The money can be used to buy artificial limbs.

She was chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants because of her self-determination and "smiling face," hospital director Adison Phatthradun said.

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