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    Feb 24, 2015

    Dream cycling trip ends in tragedy for family

    A SINGAPOREAN woman, her husband and their two-year-old son were on a dream cycling trip around the world when tragedy struck on Saturday afternoon in Thailand.

    The Bangkok Post reported that a pick-up collided with the man's bicycle, sending him flying off the bike. Chilean Francisco Villa, 48, died on the spot.

    Jennel Ng, 40, and their baby are in a hospital in Thailand. Madam Ng suffered a broken left leg while the baby had minor injuries.

    Bua Yai Hospital confirmed on Sunday that Madam Ng and her son Lucas were receiving treatment there. But it declined further comment, citing the need to protect the patients' privacy.

    The Bangkok Post reported that the family of three had set off from a police checkpoint in Khon Kaen's Phon district in north-eastern Thailand on Saturday.

    They were travelling on the Mittraphap Road towards Nakhon Ratchasima - about 260km north-east of Bangkok - when the accident happened.

    When The New Paper contacted the Bua Yai police station, an officer confirmed that the police were looking into the accident.

    The Thai police said he was hit by a pick-up driven by a 64-year-old man. The truck overturned and ended up in a ditch. The driver was unhurt. But Mr Villa flew off his bicycle and landed some distance away on the road, the police said.

    Mr Villa had wanted to set the Guinness World Record by cycling 250,000km around the world in five years.

    He started the journey in 2010, and was with his wife and son on this leg of the trip. He was due to complete the self-funded attempt this year.

    Based on photos that Mr Villa shared on his Facebook page, the family had flown to China last month.

    They then rode to Thailand on two bicycles - one fitted with a mini carriage that their son travelled in.

    At the accident scene, the self-made signs on his bicycle tell his story.

    He had set out in 2010, got married and had a baby. From his Facebook page, we learnt that Mr Villa met Madam Ng in Mexico, and they got married in April. His goal was to finish his journey this November.

    The Bangkok Post reported that the driver has been charged with careless driving resulting in death and injury.

    It also quoted Madam Ng as saying that religious rites for her husband would be held at Dhamma Utthayan Forest Monastery in Muang district in Khon Kaen.

    She said it was what Mr Villa would have wanted as the family spent almost a week at the Buddhist temple before journeying on to Nakhon Ratchasima.

    Her husband was impressed with the atmosphere and told her he wanted religious rites to be held there should he die.

    "I never thought my husband would end his life in Thailand. We were planning to cycle to Singapore to visit my parents," the paper reported her as saying.