19 Dead in Horror Bus Crash in Thailand
19 DEAD IN HORROR BUS CRASH IN THAILAND – An inter-province bus, traveling from Bangkok to Roi Et in the northeast of the country, crashed and burst into flames as it was hit head on by a cement truck.
18 of the passengers died on impact and in the subsequent fire whilst another victim died in hospital do to their injuries a few hours later.
Police have arrested the driver of the cement truck as eyewitnesses say he lost control of the vehicle, swerved across the outer lane and hit the bus head-on.
One of the victims was a driver of a pick-up truck who was following the bus; he also died instantly on impact.
Police are yet unable to determine how many people were in the bus although according to its owner, Witthichart Kallayanamitr, the bus was designed to carry a maximum load of 32 passengers.
Safety standards in Thailand continue to concern foreign ambassadors due to the high number of road and rail accidents that occur each year.
Obtaining a driver’s licence in Thailand is simply a matter of turning up and yet many Thai do not even bother and freely drive motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks without proper training or an appropriate licence.
In a recent piece of news an overnight sleeper train traveling from Bangok to Chiang in the north derailed injuring 23 people, 18 of which were foreign tourists.
On the holiday island of Phuket there have been numerous bus crashes most of which reported brake failure as the cause. The authorities once kept records of all fatalities on Phuket, both foreigner and national, and supplied this list to foreign consuls and the press in order to show transparency of the problems and identify areas of improvement.
This practice was halted in recent times as Thai authorities felt that reporting the high number of fatalities was simply doing too much damage to its tourist industry. Once again reporters and the public feel that the authorities are simply covering up the issues so as not to disrupt the cash flow tourism brings.
One expat resident we spoke to gives his account of driving in Thailand;
“It’s a free-for-all. Everyone just does what they want without any consideration for other road users. Large vehicles, such as buses, mini-buses and trucks are notorious for tail-gating other vehicles at high speeds. With the appalling state of the roads, lack of driver training and almost non-existent vehicle maintenance its little wonder why these types of accidents continue to happen.
The sad truth is that Thais appears to have little or no regard for human life and with the level of corruption the road continue to fall in an abhorrent state of disrepair. It is not surprising that tourism in Thailand continues to fall as people abandon traveling here due to the increasing dangers.”
As the death toll on Thailand’s roads and public transportation continue to grow there appears little action by the Thai Government and local authorities to take positive measures in order to reduce the carnage.
In a completely separate incident some hours later another bus overturned as the driver attempted to take a sharp bend at high speed as it traveled from Bangkok to Phang-Nga. No deaths were reported but 22 passengers have been injured.
Thailand is one of the most dangerous places in the world to drive and as some tourists have discovered, using public transportation, such as buses, trains, tuk tuks and taxis can be a frightening and perilous pursuit.
Do you think the Thai Government should do more to reduce the risks of travelling on public transport? Please leave your comments below.