WARNING - GRAPHIC FOOTAGE: A New Zealand tourist has died after falling from Thailand’s Death Railway while reportedly leaning out of a train door to take a selfie with the view.
Patrick Ward was travelling alone on the famous WWII rail line on Tuesday when he plummeted 10 metres to the ground as the passenger train passed along cliffs above the Krasae Cave in Kanchanaburi province, 145km from Bangkok.
The 45-year-old reportedly went to the toilet before opening the door of the train to take a photo, however he slipped on the shaky 75-year-old train’s steps.
Horrifying footage captured by onlookers shows Mr Ward falling on his back from a moving carriage. The driver immediately stopped the train and rescue teams were sent to the area. They performed CPR on the New Zealander for around 30 minutes before he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midday.
Additional footage shows the teams lifting his body back up to the tracks using a makeshift pulley system. Lieutenant Colonel Kiattisak Kerdchoke, the investigating inspector of Sai Yok district police station, said Mr Ward had suffered a broken neck in the fall.
“I was informed at 11.54 am that a tourist had fallen from the train while it was going along the railway bridge. A response team was co-ordinated with rescue workers and paramedics,” he said.
“Officers had to use methods to slowly descend the cliff to help the injured man. When they reached the body of the injured person, they found a large tear wound on the right arm, a broken neck. He was not responsive and not breathing.”
Tour guide's warning to travellers
The tour guide that had taken Mr Ward on the trip said he had warned travellers not to lean out of the carriages, which have open spaces where they connect. Doors can also be opened for passengers to sit on the steps and they can also lean from the windows.
Tour company owner Prairat Butdawong, 70, said Mr Ward had moved between carriages after using the toilet and was taking a picture while the train “went round the corner”.
“I told all the tourists they cannot go out of the carriage, they strictly should not open the door. I said if you want to take pictures, take it from the window of the train.
“But when this tourist walked to the door of the second carriage and opened it to take a picture, I think the train twisted while it was turning and he lost his balance and fell. This has never happened in all the years I have been doing tours.”
The Death Railway and the bridge over the River Kwai were built by prisoners of war from Australia, the UK and other countries. The railway line stretching to Burmas was to help the German and Japanese war effort against the Allies, so they could transport supplies.
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