Firecrackers injure hundreds
An official said more than 200 people have been injured by illegally huge firecrackers and celebratory gunfire despite a government scare campaign against reckless holiday revelries. Health Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag said yesterday that most of those hurt were children. Stray bullets wounded eight people and 197 were injured by powerful firecrackers between Dec. 21 and Friday. Officials fear the number of injuries might rise as superstitious people bid goodbye to a year of natural disasters and economic uncertainties. Desperate to halt the violent tradition, officials have warned revelers they risk amputations if they are hurt lighting up huge firecrackers.
Minister heads to Syria
The foreign minister will fly to Syria to help speed up the repatriation of its citizens from the strife-torn country, a statement said yesterday. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was to depart on a Qatar Airways flight to Damascus late yesterday to make sure that the repatriation of it citizens “can be made as secure as possible,” the ministry said in a statement. “During this visit to Syria, we will seek the cooperation and assistance of Syrian officials in ensuring the safety of our people there,” del Rosario was quoted as saying in the statement.
Funeral trip kills mourners
Twelve mourners were killed when their packed pickup truck collided with a passenger bus as they traveled to the funeral of a relative in the northeast, police said yesterday. Ten women and two men, many of whom were sitting in the open-top rear of the truck, were killed instantly in the smash in Buriram province. Four other people were injured. Colonel Pongsak Suk-im, commander of the local Nangrong district police, said the early morning collision happened when the truck pulled onto a main road in front of a long-distance bus from Bangkok. The accident came during the most dangerous week of the year on Thailand’s roads. Annual fatalities from vehicle crashes during the New Year period regularly run into the hundreds, due to a combination of the large number of people on the roads and drunk driving.
Woman tried to cut off leg
A grandmother who survived three days trapped by her overturned car after a road accident on Christmas Day had become so desperate to escape she considered amputating her leg, police said. With her mobile phone battery dying, Deborah McKnight, who is in her mid-40s, was unable to reach emergency help after her car rolled over an embankment on an isolated country road last Sunday. “She told me she tried to cut her leg off but she couldn’t get through the bone,” daughter Ebony told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on Friday. “I don’t know what she used. I felt sick when she told me that.” McKnight had been driving near Batlow when she told police she swerved to miss a kangaroo and lost control of her car which careered through a guard rail and tumbled down a cliff. The Holden Commodore landed on its roof at the foot of a tree and McKnight found herself thrown so she was partly outside the vehicle, with her left leg crushed between its roof and the ground. The grandmother was finally found when a teenager walking to a neighbor’s property late on Wednesday afternoon heard her moans and found the wreck which was still holding childrens’ Christmas presents.