New Zealand tourist dies while taking selfie over ‘death railway’ in Thailand

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A New Zealand tourist fell to his death from a train over the World War II “death railway” in Kanchanaburi province in western Thailand on Tuesday.

Sai Yok Police Station was alerted at 11.50am that a foreign tourist had died after falling about 10m from a train to the ground below the death railway at Krasae Cave in Sai Yok district.

The tourist was identified as Patrick Ward, 45.

His fall was captured on video by a tourist in the area. The victim was seen falling on his back out of the train in the short clip.

Since there is no ladder or other way to climb down in that area, rescuers had to create a makeshift pulley system to lower themselves and pull the body out.

When rescuers spotted him, he was barely breathing, police said. Ward’s right arm and neck broke in the fall. Rescuers tried to resuscitate him for about half an hour but their efforts were in vain.

Pol Colonel Phuchong Narong-in, commander of the police station, said the tour guide had revealed that the tourist had come with a group led by the guide from River Kwai bridge and he rode the train to see the death railway, also known as the Thai-Burma Railway.

The tourist reportedly opened a door of the train and tried to take a selfie to show the view outside but he slipped on the steps at the door and fell to his death.

The death railway, connecting Thailand and Burma, was built from 1940 to 1943 by civilian laborers and prisoners of war taken by the Japanese, to supply troops and weapons for Japan’s Burma campaign in World War II.

An estimated 180,000 to 250,000 Southeast Asian civilians and over 60,000 Allied prisoners of war were subjected to forced labor during the construction. More than 100,000 of them died.

The police station said it would contact the New Zealand embassy in Bangkok to take custody of the body for the funeral.



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