The incident occurred at the Aquaculture Research and Development Center, Coastal Region 5, Phuket, Moo 4, Pa Khlok Subdistrict, Thalang District, Phuket Province.
Pol Lt. Col. Thitiwat Asasing from Thalang Police Station was notified of the accident around 3pm and proceeded to the scene immediately, joined by rescue workers and emergency service personnel.
On arrival, they discovered the body of 36-year-old Pongtap Wangsawiboon trapped head-first in the machine. It was instantly evident that Mr Pongtap, who worked as an officer at the Department of Fisheries, was already dead.
It took staff from the Kuso Dhamma Phuket Foundation over 30 minutes to cut Mr Pongtap’s body free using equipment. Once freed, his body was taken to hospital for further examination.
A work colleague, 36-year-old Somboon Kanungkarn, who was operating the machinery with Mr Pongtap at the time of the accident, recalled they had collected fishing nets from cages at the nearby pier and were prepraing the heavy-duty cleaning machine. Whereas he did not see exactly what happened, Mr Somboon believes his colleague may have slipped and fallen into the machine which then pulled him in.
On realising the desperate situation, Mr Somboon managed to hit the emergency stop button which brought the machine to a stand still. He called to co-workers for help and they tried to retrieve the body but were unable to.
Mr Somboon confirmed that he and Mr Pongtap had worked at the facility for over 10 years and never had any difficulties before. He was shocked and vowed to take more care in the work place in future after the sad demise of his friend.