Thai school bus crash kills fifteen

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Friday, February 28, 2014

A school bus taking students on a field trip crashed into a truck early this morning in eastern Thailand, killing thirteen students and two teachers.

The top deck of the bus was crushed on one side after hitting the truck and spinning. The students aboard ranged from ten-year-olds to young teens and had been headed from their Nakhon Ratchasima school to Pattaya. The bus driver fled and is unaccounted for.

The bus was carrying around 60 female students, with a boys' bus from the school following behind. The second bus escaped the accident. The crash was on a narrow, busy road in Prachinburi. The road is in a national park which prevents upgrade works like widening, according to Nuttapong Boontob of the Thailand Accident Research Center.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Anukarn Thammavijarn said police theorise the vehicle's "brakes may have failed or the driver might have fallen asleep." Thammavijarn said the bus was out-of-control and going downhill when it struck the 18-wheeled truck from behind. He cited the old appearance of the vehicle as a reason to suspect brake failure for the accident.

The crash injured a further 47 people. A row of covered bodies was formed beside the wreckage. Of the injured, 23 were hospitalised. Wounds include broken bones.

Road accident rates are among the world's highest in Thailand; last December a bus fell off a bridge, killing 29. Road accidents killed 8,600 on the nation's roads last year. Legislation does not require bus passengers to wear seatbelts.