There are reports that the driver, who died at the scene, had gotten lost and also that there was loud music playing within the bus before the train hit causing mayhem. Rescuers arriving at the accident site were confronted with a horrific sight of injured passengers and bodies strewn near the rail tracks.
18 people lost their lives and over 40 were injured in a horrific crash on Sunday morning after a freight train struck a passenger bus as it attempted to cross a rail track in Chachoengsao province approximately 50 km east of Bangkok. The bus was carrying 60 passengers from Samut Prakan to a Buddhist religious event at a nearby temple.
Thailand suffered another horrific road-rail crash on Sunday morning when a bus carrying approximately 60 people from Samut Prakan near Bangkok to Wat Bang Pla Nak temple in the Mueang District of Chachoengsao was hit at speed by an oncoming freight train.
The accident, according to surviving passengers on the bus, occurred after 8 am on Sunday as it was attempting to make its way across a rail crossing.
It is reported that the driver of the bus was unsure of the route while there are other reports that there was loud music playing or noise on the bus just before the impact.
Driver killed instantly in the impact reportedly had lost his way before arriving at the rail crossing
The driver of the bus is reported to have been killed instantly by the impact.
Survivors reported hearing a noise like oncoming thunder followed by repeated shocks as the bus was hit and overturned. Some passengers also reported hearing the alarm at the junction warning of the oncoming train.
Terrified passengers, some hysterical, fled from the bus in the ensuing mayhem while bodies of others were left strewn near the tracks together with personal belongings.
The accident occurred not far from Khlong Kwaeng Klan railway station which is situated about 60 km to the east of Bangkok.
The extended freight train No 852 plying the route from Laem Chabang and Hua Takhae, hit the bus as it nosed on to the railway line repeatedly, resulting in it overturning and its roof being ripped off.
State Railway boss confirmed the death toll at 18 with over 40 injured, some already discharged
At the scene, the Governor of the State Railway of Thailand, Nirut Maneephan, confirmed that there were 18 fatalities from the horrific accident and over 40 people were injured.
These were taken to three hospitals in the Mueang Chachoengsao district named as Ban Pho, Kasemrat and Phutthasothorn hospitals.
Some of those admitted were suffering for light injures and were reported as being discharged early on Sunday afternoon.
Wreckage of the bus removed from the rail tracks by a large crane to reopen the rail network
In the aftermath of the removal of the bodies and those injured from the scene by rescue services, police and officials turned their attention to removing the wreckage of the bus covering some of the rails tracks.
It was later removed by a heavy crane so that the rail line can be reopened in due course.
The bus party was on its way to the famous Wat Bang Pla Nak temple to celebrate the end of Buddhist lent and do merit by presenting the monks with gifts and new clothing.
Appalling road traffic record in Thailand together with an increased pattern of rail smashes
The kingdom has an appalling record of road and rail track accidents in recent years.
In 2018, the United Nations listed Thailand as the second most dangerous country in the world for road accidents behind the failed state of Libya.
In the last two years, the numbers have been declining and are still predominantly driven by motorbike related accidents accounting for over 75% of deaths.
However, there has been a rising pattern of bus accidents and increasing levels, also, of accidents on rail lines as vehicle ownership in Thailand expands with many rail lines intersecting smaller roads in rural locations within Thailand’s vast network of routes.
There are currently upwards of 40 million registered vehicles in Thailand although the trend has been declining since 2019 with more challenging economic conditions and rising consumer debt particularly in relation to vehicle purchases.
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Posted by Thai Examiner on Monday, September 16, 2019