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Triumph over tragedy: Thai mother’s inspiring recovery after airport travelator accident leads to amputation

BANGKOK, THAILAND — In a heartwarming tale of resilience and determination, Supahnee Kittirattana, a 57-year-old Thai mother has defied all odds on her road to recovery following a life-altering accident on a travelator that resulted in the amputation of her leg.

Taking her first few steps since the horrific accident occurred at Don Mueang international airport, which resulted in the amputation of her leg, Supahnnees’s son, Krit, shared the encouraging news with Thai media that his courageous mother is starting to walk again.

“My mum walked for 15-minutes today, and she has to practice every day. It’s incredibly motivating, and despite everything that happened, she remains as beautiful as ever and I hope she will outrun me,” he said cheerfully.

On June 29, at 8.30 am, Supahnnee was heading to the gate for a flight to Nakhon Si Thammarat when she had fallen and got her leg stuck in the metal gap of the travelator when she had to watch in complete horror as her muscles, tendons and bones were ripped to shreds by the machinery.

The paramedics had to quickly perform an on-site amputation in order to be able to remove her from the travelator and rush her to the hospital afterwards.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) took responsibility for the accident and admitted that the walkway, which was originally installed in 1987 was in a deplorable state.

Professor Weerachai Phuttawong of Kasetsat University explained that three of the four bolts holding the metal surface plate gave way as the victim walked upon it, resulting in the horrific fall.

“As seen in the picture, the cause of the accident was the surface plate falling out of the square rail because three of the four bolts (A, B, C) were unable to support it. Only the bolt in position D remained intact as the plate slid downwards. The passenger’s leg then slipped through the resulting gap, “

He further elaborated that her leg was forcefully pressed against a metal edge as the travelator continued to move forward for approximately 10-seconds, resulting in the severe injury.

AoT was criticised by the Royal Thai Police for lack of cooperation for its failure to hand over the CCTV footage of the incident as requested, as this was confirmed by the head of Don Muang District Police, Colonel Adirek Thongkaemkaew.

As the authorities are currently conducting the investigation, collecting witness testimonies as well as other pertinent evidence, it has been noted that all twenty automatic walkways at Don Mueang International Airport have been closed for inspection to avoid further potential mishaps.

A spokesperson for the airport who expressed his remorse in an issued statement said,

“The director and management of Don Mueang Airport have visited the patient to monitor her treatment and received updates from the medical team at Bhumibol Hospital, who reported that she is currently undergoing treatment. We are deeply saddened by the incident and are fully committed to assuming responsibility, as well as covering all her medical expenses and providing compensation.”

Supahnnee’s story quickly captivated netizens when an online video by Krit, documenting his mother’s triumphant strides toward recovery despite the devastation, went viral.

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