Thailand: Bus crash kills 14 and splits vehicle in half


December 5, 2023


Thailand: Bus crash kills 14 and splits vehicle in half

The collision split the front of the bus into two, with parts of the tree wedged in it/SAWANG PRACHUAP DHAMMASATHAN FOUNDATION

Fourteen people have died in Thailand after a double-decker bus veered off the road and smashed into a tree.

Photos online show the bus leaning on its side and its front split in half, with parts of the tree wedged in it.

Thirty-two others were injured following the crash in Prachuap Khiri Khan, a coastal province in the country’s south.

Thailand has one of the world’s highest road accident rates, leading to thousands of deaths every year.

Many attribute this to poor safety standards on the country’s busy roads.

In 2022 alone, 15,000 people lost their lives on Thailand’s roads, according to the country’s Road Accidents Data Centre. In the UK, which has a slightly lower population, that number stands at 1,700.

In 2021, traffic-related incidents made up almost a third of total deaths in the country, the World Health Organization said.

The cause of Monday night’s crash has not been confirmed, but police suspect the driver may not have had enough sleep, AFP reported.

He was badly injured but survived. Authorities are also checking his blood alcohol levels, the news agency said.

Police are still verifying the identities of those who died from the crash.

Prachuap Khiri Khan is popular among tourists for its beaches, caves and hiking trails.

Rescuers spent “several hours” pulling the dead and the wounded out of the bus, said the Sawang Prachuap Dhammasathan Foundation, which supported the operation.

Pictures posted on the foundation’s Facebook account showed more than a dozen rescuers attempting to remove the tree which was pressing on the bus. Some smashed the vehicle’s windows open with a hammer.

Thailand has set a target of reducing road traffic deaths to less than 12 per 100,000 people by 2027 – about half the current rate.

In 2020, 20 people were killed when a bus carrying factory workers to a Buddhist temple crashed with a train in central Thailand. Thirty others were injured in the accident, which saw the bus’ top ripped off.

In 2018, a bus traveling in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province crashed into a tree, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens.

(With inputs from BBC)