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Jiggs McDonald Stuck in Thailand

JiggsJiggs McDonald, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who once graced the South Florida radio waves, is currently part of some serious civil unrest in Thailand.

Jiggs was part of a sightseeing tour, but is stuck there once the nation's two main airports were seized by protesters. Jiggs' group was supposed to leave four days ago, but now they don't know when they can get home. Jiggs is part of a large number of foreign tourists stuck in limbo in Bangkok, and is family his trying to put pressure on the Canadian government to bring this group home safely.

Hopefully all works out and it's just another story for Jiggs to spin during a night out. Hopefully no violence springs from this attempted takeover and everyone comes out of this safe and sound.

Here's part of the release that was sent to me. To read more about the unrest in Thailand, click here.

Jiggs  McDonald, former NHL announcer and Hockey Hall of Fame member, and his wife Marilyn and approximately 80 other Canadian citizens on a 30-day Asian tour are currently stranded in Bangkok due to the political unrest there.  They are headed into their 4th extra day in the city, with no end in sight and the threat of violence growing around them.

The tour group was on the final day of their 30-day trip and was scheduled to fly out of Bangkok on Wednesday morning.  The international airport was shut down on Tuesday due to political conflict in Thailand.  An anti-government group (PAD) took over that airport as well as a smaller domestic one and is demanding the resignation of the country’s prime minister.  They refuse to leave until he resigns. 

The government has declared a state of emergency at both of Bangkok’s airports, giving them the right to intervene and oust the protesters, but the opposition group has declared that they will not leave and will “fight to the death.”  A larger pro-government group of citizens has threatened to take to the streets to fight PAD.  And there is talk of a potential coup or military intervention.  In other words, every day that the conflict at the airport and in Bangkok continues, the threat of these Canadian citizens being caught up in a violent conflict grows.

Currently, there are no international flights operating out of the airport. There are some limited commercial and charter flights operating out of a Thai military base, but those arrangements have been coordinated with the Thai government.  The Canadian tour company, Expo Cruises and Tours (Toronto) have been in touch with the Canadian Embassy, but have been given very little information about Canada’s plans to help its stranded citizens.  There are estimates of approximately 1,000 Canadians in Thailand who were scheduled to be departing Bangkok, but cannot. 

There are limited alternate travel options.  For example, trains and buses do operate, but PAD has been known to interrupt these services during past conflicts as well.  Currently, EXPO does not have a way to safely move all 80 of its tour group members out of the country without help from the Canadian government.  And there are over 900 other Canadian citizens seeking a safe way out of the country before violence erupts.