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Disaster at The Wave Bar Chaweng

Living in paradise may seem like an idyllic lifestyle to those living in colder climates and many of the residents of Koh Samui would whole heartedly agree. However, like anywhere else in the world, every country comes with its own unique set of challenges and few that have lived on Samui for any significant period of time can say that live in paradise is hassle free. One resident that understands only too well how things can go from bad to worse in a very short space of time here is island resident Pete from the UK.

Ten years ago Peter and his business partner Dave opened the doors to The Wave, a vibrant and successful bar, restaurant and guest house in Chaweng just a few minutes away from some major island attractions.

The wav disaster 6Other than the usual humps and bumps in the road that all residents on the island hit along the way, nothing had gone significantly wrong for Pete, who last December could not have imagined what lay in store for him. Pete’s annus horribilis began when the Amari chain of hotels decided to build a 200 room hotel behind his bar. This seemed like a great opportunity to attract residents of the hotel to his business on completion of the project planned for 2014, however, on the 22nd of December last year when the initial foundations were being dug, the ones closest to The Wave went too deep and caused subsidence to the kitchen that moved three and a half inches away from the rest of the building. Despite being high season and having bookings for Christmas dinner, Pete had no option but to close his kitchen until it could be shored back up to the building with supports. Having lost three days of prime trade Pete was not at all happy to find that there was going to be some considerable delay in an insurance pay out, and there was some debate as to if he would be recompensed for loss of earnings.

Not long after this incident the owner of the building decided that she would increase the monthly rent to almost double what it was which did nothing to lighten Pete’s worries, but he took a deep breath and soldiered on.  Despite having to pay a lot more for his premises and having the constant hassle of trying to sort out the insurance for the kitchen, things went back to being relatively normal, that was until Sunday the 19th of May.

The wav disaster 5At 5am that fateful morning Pete was sleeping in his bed, blissfully unaware as to the nightmare unfolding in his bar. Some time earlier four young Thai men had been seen eating burgers, acting in a way that caused an onlooker to say to his friend “wow that is an accident waiting to happen”, he could not have known how right he was. Moments later the four, who incidentally had not even finished eating, were in a car hurtling towards The Wave when they span out of control and slammed into the front of the building, virtually demolishing it on impact. Pete’s bike was hit so hard that it hurtled into the air and landed on Pete’s friend Steve’s bike causing considerable damage to both of them. Miraculously the four men escaped unscathed other than one fractured bone and were given a clean bill of health some time later at the local hospital.

Somebody who saw the smash called one of Pete’s staff who raced upstairs to alert him to the fact that now he had to deal with the front end of his bar, as well as the rear being virtually demolished. Two hours later an insurance assessor arrived with a camera and organized for the car, now embedded in the bar to be removed before instructing Pete and Dave to go and report to the local police station. When they arrived they were given a form to sign for the repair work to begin. Nowhere on this from allowed for compensation for loss of earnings during the month it would take to repair the bar, but after being put under pressure and being informed that no repair works would be carried out until the form was signed, the men felt they had no choice but to comply. With heavy hearts they returned to the bar and the promised repair works started to be carried out, but  no sooner had it started the building firm contracted to make the repairs quit, after finding the job, with its complicated electrics and other issues, beyond their capabilities. Pete went back to the insurance company and later a new firm arrived to complete the job, that, while it allowed the bar to re-open, left the building substantially less impressive that in was before the accident.

The wav disaster 4With the repair work to the kitchen still unfinished the insurance company acting on behalf of the Amari started to stall, as new works with a new insurance company would also be taking place on the building. Determined to ensure the workmanship at the front of the building be improved and determined to be compensated for loss of earnings, Pete employed the services of a lawyer in Maenam and explained to him that, rather than looking for any kind of payment for loss of profit, Pete simply wanted to be repaid for costs such as electric, rent and staff wages during the month The Wave was forced to close. A meeting was arranged with his lawyer on the 2nd of August and Pete set out on a friend’s motorbike, his still not having been repaired, and made his way from Chaweng to Maenam.

At 10 am as he approached Soi 2 along the ring road near to Angela’s diner in Maenam, nothing could have prepared him for what would happen next. The driver of a motorbike approached the Soi 2 ring road junction at speed, and rather than pulling up and checking right, he pulled straight out onto the ring road and collided with Pete’s bike. Pete has very little recollection of the incident, he remembers not being able to see his trusty bike helmet and as he was lifted into the ambulance he remembers seeing an alarming amount of blood on the road. The next recollection he had was waking up a day or so later in the Bangkok Samui Hospital with substantial damage to his thumb, that looked like it was not far from being severed, cuts and bruises to the right had side of his body, cuts on his head that required over a dozen stitches, seven ribs fractured in nine places and a punctured lung.

The wav disasterThe Samui Times went to visit a very unhappy Pete in hospital eleven days later to find out how he is doing. Pete seems comfortable in his private room but finds the drain tube that has had to be inserted into his lung, that is now full of fluid, very painful indeed and he is so concerned about morphine dependency he has refused to have it the four times a day he was recommended and  has elected to only take the drug at 9pm to make him feel sleepy and at midnight so he can sleep for a few hours each night without pain. He is in pretty reasonable spirits given the circumstances but would like anybody that witnessed the accident on the 2nd of August to come forward as the driver of the motorbike has not been identified. After such a run of bad luck he hopes the guilty party can at least been located and held responsible for Pete’s latest nightmare, that like his others were simply not his fault. The insurance companies are yet to pay out for any loss of earnings from the kitchen or the front of the bar and now Pete hopes that he has considerable more luck with his health insurance.

If you have any messages for Pete, would like to help in any way or have any information with regards to the bike that hit him please contact the editor as editor@samuitimes.com

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