Parachutist's father suspects foul play

The father of a police cadet killed Monday when his parachute failed to open said he suspected the deaths of his son and another trainee were not an accident.

Sathorn Putthachaiyong, father of Chayakorn, 19, a second-year cadet of Class 69 at the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Nakhon Pathom, said he believed there are two possible causes of the deaths: carelessness, or a conflict between his son and a third-year student who allegedly bullied Chayakorn while serving as his chaperone.

A snapped aircraft cable, known as a static line used to deploy the cadets' parachutes, was said to be the primary cause of the deaths. The cable snapped, parachutes hooked to it failed to deploy, and two of the six cadets failed to open their emergency parachutes. Four other cadets survived by deploying their reserve chutes. 

Mr Sathorn, a school teacher, said the senior student had assaulted and injured Chayakorn, apparently as a hazing incident. He added that an investigation into the violence had found the chaperone guilty. He was required to repeat his third academic year as punishment. The order was signed by national police chief Adult Sangsingkaew on March 3.  

“I was later approached by several phuyai (to intervene to cancel the punishment) but I insisted that the order had been issued and things must proceed accordingly,” the disgruntled and emotional father said. 

“Besides, that senior police cadet also said phuyai thought that I was too stiff and stubborn.

"On the first day of the parachute practice jump, my child died in the first group of jumpers. Asking about the cause [of death], everyone keeps telling me to wait for the results of an investigation. But I cannot help thinking that this was not an accident.”

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