In Bangkok, an ambulance is hard to find
Racing through late night Bangkok traffic at high speed I find myself aboard one of the Por Tech Tune ambulances, an older model pickup with a shell, en route to a traffic fatality.  Bangkok a city of 10 million, give or take a few have limited ambulance service, almost none really and the volunteers with unpaid charities such as Por Tech Tune,  take up the slack of picking up the dead and transporting the injured to hospitals.
These are what many call the “Body Snatchers.”  The name comes from a time when competition for accident victims and the dead ran high.  Groups often arriving at a scene at the same time would battle it out to see who would claim the victim.  Today the city is divided in half with Por Tech Tune taking the north one day and the south the next.  The days of fist fights and some say even gun battles for victims is long gone.
Arriving at the scene, it is clear a motorcycle driver not wearing a helmet has collided broadside with a small compact car.  Blood from the dead man has left quite a puddle in the middle of the Bangkok main street.  All around Por Tech Tune volunteers go about collecting the man’s information, photographing first the scene and then the deceased.  He appears to be about 30 years of age.  The motorcycle looks well worn.  I ask around, “Was he speeding…Was he drunk?”
No one seems to know the particulars of the accident.  All that seems to matter is the victim is being removed from the streets of the city of Angels.  In Thailand, about 15 people a day are killed in motorcycle accidents.  In 2015 report released by WHO there were about 26 motorcycle-related deaths for every 100,000 people in Thailand.  After riding with the Body Snatchers, it is clear that Thailand is indeed the most dangerous place in the world to be riding a motorcycle.
Police soon clear the scene.  The damaged motorcycle is hauled away and the crew of paramedics and volunteers I am riding with returns to their base in a downtown Bangkok neighborhood.  It is after midnight, and everyone begins to settle in, some sleeping on the cheap wooden boxes that serve as coffins for the poor.  
I am shaken awake by my driver.  In Thai, he tells me to hurry.  Soon we are on our way to an accident involving several Tuk-Tuks.  A Tuk-Tuk is a three-wheel. Open-Air taxi powered by a sizeable engine.  They have evolved over time but remain one of the most recognizable forms of transportation in the capital city.  Late night racing is commonplace.  
Tonight's accident has left three seriously injured.  Por Tech Tune volunteers team up with paramedics from a nearby hospital to treat the wounded.
Much has been written about these groups over the years and how they are allegedly robbing the dead and injured, how they fight over corpses at an accident scene and other forms of misbehavior such as ransoming bodies back to love ones.  The men and women who volunteer for duty with the service come from all walks of life.  The main reason for volunteering is to gain Buddhist merit.
While I did experience some wild rides through Bangkok traffic that were just plain dangerous, my feelings towards the men and women I worked with was very positive.
Some of the scenes are grisly, but none of it was staged for my benefit.

A paid member of the Por Tech Tune charity is shown outside the groups headquarters in Bangkok.

Bangkok paramedica attend an auto accident in Bangkok.

Bangkok paramedics and Por Tech Tune volunteers transport an accident victim.

The scene of a motorcycle accident in Bangkok.  Thailand according to government studies is the most dangerous place in the world for motorcyclist.

A Bangkok motorcyclist killed in a collision with an automobile is looked over by Por Tech Tune volunteers.

A Bangkok motorcyclist killed in a collision with an automobile is looked over by Por Tech Tune volunteers.

The blood of a fatal accient victim is clean from a Bangkok street.  Thailand according to government studies is the most dangerous place in the world for motocyclists.

Police and Por Tech Tune volunteers gather at an accident scene in Bangkok.

Bangkok Por Tech Tune volunteers clean the blood from the street following a fatal accident.

A body of a motorcyclist killed in a traffic accident in Bangkok is carried to a transport truck.

Bangkok paramedics prepare a body for transport to the morgue.

A Bangkok paramedic finger prints an accident victim.

Bangkok paramedics and Por Tech Tune emergency volunteers aid an injured man.

Bangkok paramedics and Por Tech Tune emergency volunteers aid an injured man.

Bangkok paramedics and Por Tech Tune emergency volunteers aid an injured man.

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