2 dead, 43 hurt in Patong Hill bus crash
Wednesday 9 March 2011, 01:39AM
A tour bus carrying 55 people, most from Patong, who had been to the funeral of revered monk Luang Ta Maha Bua in Udon Thani, crashed near the bottom of Patong hill this morning.
Forty three people were injured, three of them seriously, and two died, on at the scene and the other in Vachira hospital.
Declared dead at the scene was Warin Yongyut, aged 51, a motorbike taxi driver based at Wat Suwankhiriwong, close to where the bus crashed. The other dead person has yet to be named.
Coming towards the bottom of Patong Hill at around 8:40 this morning, the two-decker tour bus hit a crash barrier on the left and toppled over it. It would have rolled further down the hill but was stopped by a large water pipe.
Staff from the Kusondharm Foundation had to cut four people out of the bus, including the dead man.
A passenger on the bus told The Phuket News that the bus, operated by Tiangtham Tour, left Suphan Buri in the night, stopping for just one hour in Surat Thani to allow the driver to rest.
Pol Lt Col Kittipong Klykaew said the driver, known so far only as Nual, from Phang-nga, is among the casualties and police are waiting for him to recover to the point where he can be interviewed.
He added that the owner of Tiangtham Tour has already been in touch with police to discuss the accident.
The wreck of the bus was removed later in the day and is to be inspected by police to see whether it was mechanically sound before the crash.
Photographs by Teerapat Pattanasoponpong