PITSANULOK – Five people died, including a seven-month-old baby and a Belgian woman, and 53 were injured when a Thai tour bus plummeted off a hillside in Phitsanulok Thailand after its brakes failed.
Passengers said the coach had swerved several times on winding mountain roads, before it ploughed through a fence and down a steep ravine, according to local police in Phitsanulok province 380 kilometres from Bangkok.
District police captain Sane Promrut said one of the five people who died was a foreign woman tourist named as Sofie Marain , 21, a Belgian national. The four others were Thais – two women, one man named as Pornsak Sawekwong, 33, and a baby boy, Chaimongkol Charoensaen, aged seven months
He said the bus, which was travelling from northeastern Udonthani province to the main northern city of Chiang Mai, plunged about 20 metres in the early morning crash.
Police said the dead Belgian woman was in her early twenties.
Hospital staff said the mother of the baby boy was in a critical condition, with internal bleeding, while the child’s father had suffered broken legs in the accident.
A 30-year-old Belgian man and a Japanese man were also among the injured.
“The bus had problems with its brakes and was speeding before it crashed over the cliff,” Sane said, adding that passengers had smelled burning and the driver, who is also in a critical condition, had stopped to try and fix the problem before the crash.
Rescue units took more than two hours to extricate the bus passengers from the mangled wreckage.