Sunday, April 5, 2009

British oil worker dies in Pattaya Thailand motorcycle chase

David Sykes died after a crash in Thailand.
David Sykes died after a crash in Thailand.
Published Date: 
04 April 2009
A WEARSIDE dad has been killed in a motorcycle crash in Thailand while trying to escape from suspected robbers.
David Sykes, 50, died in a head-on collision with an Isuzu pick-up truck in the Pattaya area of the country.

Witnesses say the oil worker, who was riding a Honda motorbike, was being chased by between two and four other motorcyclists at the time.

His brother Cliff, 45, has flown out to the country to find out exactly what happened to the popular former shipyard worker.

But dad Archie, 81, from Eglinton Street North, Monkwearmouth, told the Echo he fears he will never get justice for his son.

He said: "There were four of them chasing him. He only went to the market to get some things and on the way back they started chasing him, trying to knock him off his bike. That's what we were told."

Archie, who used to be the mace carrier at Sunderland City Council, said he and his wife Margaret had heard the news from a neighbour of David's in Thailand on Wednesday night and are still in shock.

He said: "His brother is going to see the consulate out there. We don't know anything that's happening at that end."

David – a former commando – moved to Thailand eight years ago, where he lived with wife Leki and one-year-old son Jacky.

He went to work in the oil industry after he left JL Thompson's shipyard and rose to the rank of oil rig superintendent.

He worked in the Vietnamese oil industry and was home on leave when the incident happened.

The former Thornhill School pupil lived in Spain before moving to Thailand and Archie said he had many friends in the South East Asian country – including a number of ex-pats from Wearside.

"As far as he was concerned, until this happened it was a friendly place," he said.

"He enjoyed himself out there. He made friends wherever he went – Singapore, Hanoi, Saigon. He was about to start work next month for the Saudi Government. He knew the oil industry inside and out.

"He was a nice lad – you can ask anyone. Everyone he met he was friendly with."

The accident happened at about 8pm local time on Wednesday. Reports say the driver of the truck told police two men on a bike were chasing David and it appeared they might be trying to rob him.

According to reports in the Thai media, she said it looked as if Mr Sykes was trying to push his pursuers away by swerving his motorbike into them.

In doing so he lost control and collided with the truck, killing him instantly. The two other men sped away.

Warina Punyawan of the Pattaya Daily News in Thailand told the Echo there had been a spate of fatal accidents involving British motorcyclists in the area in the past few weeks.

But she said in other incidents the men had been riding recklessly or without helmets, and warned British riders to take care in Thailand.

No comments: