14 killed, 32 injured as bus smashes tree and splits in half in Prachuap Khiri Khan

Photo: Sawang Prachuap Dhammasathan Foundation
Photo: Sawang Prachuap Dhammasathan Foundation

A bus crash in southern Thailand killed 14 people and injured 32 others early Tuesday morning, when the double-decker vehicle slammed into a tree and split in half. 

The bus was traveling from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan, a coastal province popular among tourists for its natural attractions. 

Photos posted online showed the bus lying on its side, with the tree lodged in its front section. 

Rescuers from the Sawang Prachuap Dhammasathan Foundation spent “several hours” extracting the dead and the wounded from the bus, as shown in pictures on their Facebook account. They had to remove the tree and break the windows of the bus to reach the passengers.

Police suspect that the driver, who survived but was severely injured, may have fallen asleep at the wheel or been drunk, AFP reported. They are also checking his blood alcohol levels and the identities of the victims. 

Police said the bus did not exceed the speed limit, Khaosod English reported, but was traveling at 90 kilometers per hour prior to impact.

Thailand has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the world, with more than 15,000 deaths in 2022, according to the country’s Road Accidents Data Centre. Most of the victims are motorbike riders, who often do not wear helmets and are among the poorest segments of society. 

The country’s roads are good enough to allow fast driving, but often poorly lit and marked, making accidents more likely. Speeding, alcohol, and lack of enforcement are also common factors. The government has done little to improve road safety, despite the high human and economic costs.


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