Fatal wreck leaves southern Thai town swimming in 1.4 tons of catfish

Thousands of catfish flop in a Nakhon Sri Thammarat street after the truck transporting them overturned, killing one person, injuring nine others and scattering tons of sealife. Photo: Yanyong Nonghonglai
Thousands of catfish flop in a Nakhon Sri Thammarat street after the truck transporting them overturned, killing one person, injuring nine others and scattering tons of sealife. Photo: Yanyong Nonghonglai

With signs, baskets, traffic cones and anything at hand, they rushed in to scoop up thousands of bodies flopping frantically on the blistering concrete road. A few steps away, a life had already been lost.

Fast-acting residents of Nakorn Sri Thammarat city were being praised this week for rushing in after a fatal road accident to tend to the roughly 1.4 metric tons of fish left gasping in the road.

People moved in to save the thousands of catfish after the truck carrying them slammed into another truck, starting a domino-effect of collisions that resulted in a seven-vehicle wreck that killed a woman riding a motorcycle and injured nine others.

Scenes of people stepping into the scene of devastation to scoop up the fish and return them to the truck Tuesday were warmly received.

“I would just like to take a second to appreciate the people. So often when accidents like this occur, people rush to steal the owner’s things, which is really sad,” Facebook user Arsira Yamarbhai wrote yesterday in a comment to the video.

While some just used their hands, others grabbed random objects to gather the fish up, something denizens of the Thainet couldn’t get enough of.

“Wow. I applaud you guys. How inspiring,” user Wiriyasatien Nitipoom also wrote.

It was oddly heartwarming that, according to local police Capt. Apinan Ponsorn, no one even tried to steal the fish, unlike when all of Phuket swooped in to pinch fallen beer cans after a Leo truck dumped its load there earlier this year.

Phuket locals rush to score free beer after Leo truck nearly overturns (VIDEO)

As of publication time, Apinan said the roads have been made completely catfish-free, largely thanks to the public’s help.

A number of the people injured in the accident were badly hurt and being treated at Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital.

“All of the casualties are still in the hospital; about three of them are severely injured,” Apinan told Coconuts Bangkok today.

The fatality was identified as 43-year-old Petchnapa Boonrodchu, who was riding a motorcycle nearby at the time and whose body was found beneath one of the trucks. Bones in her legs, arms, head and neck were fractured.

Police have yet to determine the cause of the accident, according to Capt. Apinan said. “The driver of the catfish truck is still in the hospital. We have to question him first before deciding whether any legal action will be taken,” he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the mass of flopping fish as being 14 metric tons when in fact they were a mere 1.4 metric tons.

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