According to the police, four people were killed and 34 others were injured when their bus veered off a mountain road and overturned in Phu Sing district in northeastern Thailand yesterday.
The bus was returning participants in a Suranaree Trail Running competition to their starting point when it lost its balance while driving down Phanom Dongrak mountain.
The mishap happened near the Phaya Kruepree cliff. The number of passengers on board had not yet been determined.
Meanwhile, the police in Rayong reported four Chinese passengers were seriously injured in a bus accident, the remaining 20 passengers, as well as the two drivers and a tour guide, escaped with minor injuries.
The event occurred during heavy rain, and the passenger bus, which was carrying 27 people, was discovered flipped on its side on the side of the road.
According to the police, four Chinese nationals were also trapped inside the vehicle. They were severely injured, including broken bones.
Nikhom Pattana Police Station officers and a rescue crew rushed the victims with severe injuries to the hospital and offered first assistance to other injured victims.
Auttakorm Rongthong, 45, one of the drivers, reported that he had taken the Chinese tourists to Koh Samed, an island in Rayong. The catastrophe happened while he was driving tourists back to their Pattaya accommodations.
Despite maintaining a constant speed of 60 km/h, the driver struggled to maintain control of the vehicle due to the heavy downpour. According to Auttakorn, the bus slid on the road and slid into a roadside ditch alongside a forest. Auttakorn was also injured and is being treated in the hospital.
Yothaka Ramwong, a 26-year-old Thai vendor who sold durians on the side of the road, told ThaiRath that accidents always happened at the scene during heavy rain.
Some locals believe there is a ghost living in one of the roadside trees who kills them, but the vendor disagrees. She believed that relevant government departments should focus on the road’s condition.
Officers told Thai media that once the drivers were recovered, they would question them again and file charges against both the drivers and the bus company.
Police warn over bus safety in Thailand
According to the highway police bus safety in Thailand has been a concern for both locals and tourists. While there have been efforts to improve safety standards in recent years, it’s important to be aware of certain factors and take precautions when using buses in Thailand. Here are some key points regarding bus safety in Thailand:
1. Bus Conditions: Some buses in Thailand may not be properly maintained, especially those operated by smaller companies or on rural routes. These buses may lack essential safety features such as seatbelts, functioning brakes, or working lights. It’s advisable to choose reputable bus companies that prioritize passenger safety.
2. Reckless Driving: Reckless driving is a significant concern in Thailand. Some bus drivers may exhibit aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, overtaking on dangerous roads, or not adhering to traffic rules. This can increase the risk of accidents. If you feel uncomfortable with a driver’s behavior, consider disembarking at the next safe opportunity.
3. Overnight Buses: Overnight bus journeys are common in Thailand, especially for long-distance travel. When selecting an overnight bus, choose companies that offer modern and well-maintained buses. Ensure that the seats can recline comfortably and are equipped with safety features like seatbelts. It’s also advisable to secure your belongings and keep valuable items with you during the journey.
4. Safety Standards: Thailand’s Department of Land Transport (DLT) has implemented safety regulations for buses. They conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance with safety standards, but enforcement may vary across different regions and operators. Look for buses displaying safety certificates or labels indicating recent inspections.
5. Seatbelt Usage: Although seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and front-seat passengers in Thailand, their use in the rear seats may be less common, especially on older buses. Whenever available, make sure to fasten your seatbelt for added safety.
6. Driver Fatigue: Driver fatigue is a concern, particularly on long-haul routes. To mitigate this risk, the Thai government has introduced regulations limiting drivers’ working hours. However, it’s still essential to be aware of signs of driver fatigue and report any concerns to the bus company or relevant authorities.
7. Alternative Transport Options: In some cases, alternative modes of transportation may offer safer options for travel within Thailand. Trains and domestic flights are generally considered safer than buses. When feasible, consider these alternatives, especially for long-distance journeys.
It’s crucial to stay vigilant and prioritize your safety when using buses in Thailand. Research reputable bus companies, read reviews, and choose services that prioritize passenger well-being. Stay alert during the journey and report any safety concerns to the appropriate authorities.