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British Couple Say they are Lucky to Be Alive after Fatal Bus Crash

10 passengers who died while several other foreigners were seriously injured after a bus crashed into an electricity pole

 

Chiangrai Times Jonathan Bennett, 28, from Cornwall, and Roberta Norton, 31, from Guernsey, were on board the bus when it crashed in Surat Thani killing 10 people.

The British couple were taken to Surat Thani Hospital for treatment.

Ten people died at the scene, five men and five women, and 17 people were wounded

Mr Bennett said although they were in a lot of pain they were very lucky to be alive.

He suffered a number of fractures to his right leg and severe cuts and bruises to his head.

Ms Norton received a large cut to her head, which required 35 stitches.

Roberta Norton, who is personal assistant to a dean at Sussex University, said she had had a bad feeling something bad was going to happen after Jonathan had already gestured to the driver about his excessive speed.

She said: “We were so alarmed at the speed and the bus swerving that Jonathan actually got up and walked up to the driver asking and gesturing at him to slow down.

“He was driving like a mad man, however he did slow down for a while.”

Jonathan said he needed several operations before he could travel home, something they hoped to do together in three or four weeks.

They were two and a half months into what was due to be a year-long trip around South East Asia.

Having travelled from Bangkok through northern Thailand, Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia, they returned to the Thai capital to catch a bus to Ko Phang Ngan, an island off Koh Samui known for its famous Full Moon beach parties.

Jonathan Bennett said: “We’ve had an amazing time, met some amazing new friends… we’re disappointed we can’t continue, but right now I’m just thankful we’re alive.”

The bus is reported to have hit the central reservation after a tyre burst, before careering into an electricity pylon.

The driver, his two attendants and seven passengers are reported to have died in the crash.

Finding reliable statistics on the number of fatalities and injuries on the country’s roads is a tricky business. On the one hand, academics say the numbers recorded by the Royal Thai Police were artificially low. On the other hand, the US State Department has ranked Thailand as the world’s second most dangerous country (after Honduras) in terms of the number of road fatalities suffered by American tourists.

Officials from the Thai Ministry of Public Health who gave a startling batch of numbers. Using the accepted WHO definition on fatalities caused by road accidents, they told us 13,766 people were killed last year on the country’s roads – more than six times the rate in the UK (which has a similar population to Thailand).

 

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