A pair of express buses — one traveling toward, one away from Yangon — met head-on this morning in a violent collision in central Myanmar that left one man seriously injured and another on the run.
The crash, which took place in front of a gas station on a stretch of Pathein Road, appeared to involve buses from the Kan Htoo Aung and Shwe Mingalar bus companies based on signage visible on the vehicles’ exteriors.
Info about the crash emerged this morning on the Facebook page of passerby Ko Aung Kyaw, who uploaded photos and video of the aftermath.
In one of the images, a man can be seen using an axe to rip out broken glass in a bid to free a bus employee, possibly the driver, trapped inside. According to Ko Aung Kyaw, the man’s feet were stuck after the bus’ front end caved under the force of the impact.
According to online outlet Thuta Yatha Myanmar, the injured bus company employee was taken to Pathein General Hospital for treatment. Moreover, the police have opened a case to investigate the cause of the accident as well as find the driver of the Kan Htoo Aung bus, who fled in the aftermath of the crash.
The Facebook video shows firefighters and emergency services swarming around the vehicles, with the sound of sirens in the background, as they attempt to pull the two buses apart.
Full details of the incident — including how many passengers were involved — remain decidedly sketchy, however, given that neither the bus companies nor local authorities have been particularly forthcoming so far.
Employees at both Kan Htoo Aung and Shwe Mingalar told Coconuts Yangon they were unauthorized to speak to the press and asked a reporter to call other numbers. Messages left at both had not been returned by press time.
Police answering the phone at Pathein, meanwhile, said they had no details to offer as the accident had taken place during an earlier shift. (Editor: Yes, reporting can be wearying here at times.)
While certain details may remain frustratingly unclear, one thing is for certain — it’s not been a good year for bus safety thus far.
In April, a deadly accident saw a bus plunge into a gorge north of Yangon, killing 15 inside. Less than a month earlier, on March 6, we reported on a bus accident on the highway between Naypyidaw and Yangon that left 11 dead and 25 injured. Five more were killed and 27 injured later that same month in northwestern Myanmar.
Myanmar is notorious for its unsafe road conditions and high rate of traffic accidents, which often prove fatal. Among the leading causes of death in the country, road traffic accidents rank 13th out of 50, outranking multiple forms of cancer and violence, according to World Health Rankings.