Lt Col Witthaya Sinjamreu of Phang Nga Muang Police Station told The Phuket News today that the pickup driver, Sarawut Namsai, who remains in hospital for heavy bruises and contusions sustained in the impact, will be charged.
“I have already questioned him at the hospital. He said he fell asleep behind the wheel while returning from working at a shrimp farm with 11 passengers,” Col Witthaya said.
The collision occurred at 7:48am, Col Witthaya confirmed.
“The accident occurred on the main road Route 4311, between Thap Put and Phang Nga Town, in Baan Bangsiad in Moo 4, Tambon Bang Toei,” Col Witthaya said.
Four people died from injuries sustained in the accident, which saw the pickup truck cross the central reservation at speed, wipe out one motorbike and then slam head-on into the tour bus.
The motorbike driver, Mr Saman Yomdoi, 63, survived the impact, but his passenger Mrs Jeah Yomdoi, 57, was pronounced dead in hospital.
Of the three passengers in the pickup truck who died from their injuries, Nikorn Khaokheak, 42, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Miss Saijai Butden, 25, and Mr Hem Yanrang, 51, were both pronounced dead later by hospital doctors.
The seven other passengers in the pickup truck were all taken to hospital. The seven were named by police as Miss Somreuthai Khanatpeu, 57; Miss Sudarat Chantharawet, 22; Mr Charat Thampuek, 23; Mr Konkrit Lanah, 26; Mrs Kanya Kasirak, 37; Miss Wanna Karimkan, 39; and Mrs Manuwat Hama, 17.
Col Witthaya was unable to give detailed descriptions of the extent of injuries any of the seven had suffered.
The bus was carrying 13 Chinese tourists and two tour guides, Col Witthaya confirmed.
“None of them, including the driver, suffered any serious injuries in the accident,” Col Witthaya said.
The tour bus, registered in Krabi province, had picked up the Chinese tourists in Krabi and was taking them to a pier in Phang Nga for them travel to Koh Panyee, Col Witthaya explained.
After visiting the famed “floating village” on the bay, the tourists were to board the bus again and continue their journey to Phuket, he explained.
“None of them were not injured, and they later boarded another bus and continued their journey,” he added.