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Family mourns ambulance volunteer who just wanted to help others

May 01. 2018
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By Prasit Tangprasert
The Nation

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Her family’s hopes and dreams for 22-year-old rescue trainee Marisa “Nong Mod” Wilaikruad to become a nurse and help others were shattered by a tragedy in Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday afternoon.

Marisa, who has lived and studied in Germany since the age of 10, was killed when the ambulance she was riding in crashed on its way to aid victims of a bus accident in Pak Thongchai district.

 

The ambulance hit the rear of a six-wheel truck whose driver had slowed down to look at the earlier crash scene.

The crash that caused Marisa’s death and injured two other rescue workers took place just 300 metres from the scene where a tour bus overturned on Highway No 24 in Tambon Thongchai Nua, resulting in 19 injuries.

Grief-stricken relatives on Tuesday collected her body from the Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital morgue. 

Marisa’s grandmother, Boonnak Wanglomklang, 67, said that Marisa, who she described as a well-behaved high school graduate who loved to help others, was about to study to become a nurse. 

Marisa, who had a bright future ahead of her, came to Nakhon Ratchasima from Germany for the summer to visit relatives and to volunteer as a rescue trainee on an ambulance of the Muang Nakhon Ratchasima-based Hook 31st rescue unit to gain work experience.

She was scheduled to return to Germany on May 17, Boonnak said. “She bought vegetable seeds and local preserved food to take to Germany ... Now we are holding a funeral for her instead,” she said tearfully. 

Marisa’s funeral is to be held at Wat Ban Mai Intharam in Muang district, after her mother arrives from Germany today.

Hook 31st unit head Chaiyasit Phupharat offered condolences to the family over Marisa’s death, which he also said was a great loss to the unit.

The tragedy took place amid recent efforts by Thai netizens, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the police to educate motorists who fail to make way for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. There have been calls for harsher punishments and social ostracism for offenders on grounds of “endangerment to others”. 

The fine for blocking an ambulance is Bt5,000, but if people who follow two Facebook campaigns have their way, it could be raised to Bt10,000 or as high as Bt20,000. The campaigners are asking the NLA to make the necessary changes to the Land Transport Act.

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