THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning.
She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hospital. Phalla remained in an unconscious state and was confirmed to have died just after 12:00pm.
Ranariddh was later airlifted from the provincial hospital to the Phnom Penh Hospital in critical condition.
The accident occurred just before 9am on Sunday morning when the couple was travelling to meet supporters of his Funcinpec party, said Provinical Governor Yun Min.
“A doctor [at the provincial hospital] said that Phalla died at about 12:00pm. When I visited her, she was still unconscious. Ranariddh is being treated for serious injuries and is being given oxygen,” Min said.
Y Sokha, provincial deputy police chief, said Ranariddh and Phalla were among others who were injured, but declined to provide further details.
“They were sent to hospital. They seemed to have been badly injured. Prince Norodom Ranariddh was also injured in his left leg,” he said.
The accident is said to have been caused by a Toyota Highlander which crashed into the prince’s vehicle at precisely 8:50am said local police.
“The Highlander was driving from Preah Sihanouk towards Phnom Penh and when it lost control and steered head on into the prince's BMW, which was travelling in the opposite direction. The Highlander hit the prince’s car at high speed, which caused severe injuries to seven people. Two of them were women. After the accident, the prince and his wife were given emergency treatment at the provincial hospital,” he said.
In 2015, Ranariddh was also involved in a traffic accident, in Kampong Cham province, leaving Phalla badly injured.