The owner of the bus, the 407 Pattana Company, was fined by local authorities for it being substandard, revealed Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Jangtrakul. Police in Ban Haet, Khon Kaen have offered to help families of the deceased file insurance and compensation claims as the investigation into the tragedy proceeds with the bus driver appearing in court last Wednesday.
Police in Khon Kaen are still investigating the horrific bus accident on Tuesday and have asked the Provincial Court to extend the detention period of the 48-year-old driver of the vehicle who has already been charged with reckless driving causing death.
Thai police, on Wednesday, objected to bail before Khon Kaen Provincial Court for the 48-year-old driver of a passenger bus that burst into flames in the early hours of Tuesday morning killing 5 people including three women, a man and a 6-year-old girl.
12 other passengers on the bus which was transporting 33 paying travellers suffered burns during the horrific incident which occurred in Nong Kham village on the Mitrapap highway just outside Khon Kaen which was the last stop for the bus sometime after midnight on Tuesday.
Victims died after being burned to death in a gas-powered fireball triggered by an overheated brake
The victims died after being burned to death by a gas-powered fireball that erupted in the cabin of the bus after a freak accident that police believe was caused by the bus travelling at excessive speed and in a reckless manner.
Mr Patsadee Kham-on has been charged with reckless driving causing death and injury.
The driver was detained by police and when he appeared before the court, officers asked for an extension of his detention period as the investigation into the accident is still proceeding.
Driver could face 10 years in prison
The charge could see the driver imprisoned for up to 10 years and face a maximum fine of ฿200,000.
Mr Patsadee is from the Borabue district in Maha Sarakham province.
After the accident on Tuesday morning, he told police that he opened the doors for passengers to escape the blaze but it was already too late for those caught up in the fireball that came from the engine compartment of the ill-fated bus.
Hospital forensics department releases 5 bodies after autopsies linked with the police investigation
Ban Haet Police Station Chief Colonel Thanomsak Sopha has confirmed the charges against the driver.
He also revealed that relatives of the deceased victims can reclaim their bodies from nearby Srinagarind Hospital.
The bodies were taken there for forensic examination and an autopsy as part of the criminal investigation into the accident and deaths.
He named the victims as 28-year-old Sukalaya Kethome from the Kut Chap district of Udon Thani, the first stop of the bus on Monday evening, 23-year-old Nuengrudi Pinkhaen of the Mueang district of Bueng Kan province where the bus started its journey on Monday and 23-year-old Prangthong Kalom from the Ban Phue area of Udon Thani who died along with her six-year-old daughter Pawarat Kalom.
The man killed in the bus inferno was 21 year old Saharat Omkaew from the Phang Khon area of Sakon Nakhon province.
Police offering assistance to relatives on insurance and compensation claims relating to the victims
The police chief said that officers at Ban Haet were providing forms and assistance to relatives of the deceased to make insurance and compensation claims.
He revealed the insurer of the bus was Viriyah Insurance Plc and that officials with the Office of the Insurance Commission have visited his police station where the burned bus was examined. They also have oversight over insurance claims.
Relatives of the deceased may claim up to ฿1.5 million while they will be entitled to ฿500,000 each under the 1992 Road Accident Victims Protection Act.
Company fined for the use of a substandard vehicle says Khon Kaen’s governor Somsak Jangtrakul
The Governor of Khon Kaen, Somsak Jangtrakul, has also disclosed that a fine has been levied against the owner of the bus, 407 Pattana Company, for its being sub-standard.
This follows the initial findings of a report into the accidents conducted by the Department of Land Transport.
This is despite claims that the bus had been tested and passed an inspection as recently as last month.
Fuel-powered fire erupted into the cabin at 12.30 am
The report attributed the accidents to the failure of the brake system on the bus which triggered a sequence of events leading to the conflagration.
The brakes overheated which caused the tyre to explode violently.
This led to hot rubber pieces puncturing a valve of the NGV cylinder leading to a fuel-powered fire that erupted into the cabin of the passenger bus as it travelled along the road.
This occurred at 12.30 am, not long after the bus had left the Khon Kaen Station terminal and was passing through the village of Nong Kham.