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Four dead as pickup truck slams into tour bus heading to Phuket

Four dead as pickup truck slams into tour bus heading to Phuket

PHUKET: The 23-year-old driver of a pickup truck who survived a high-speed head-on collision into a tour bus heading from Krabi to Phuket yesterday (May 21) – killing four people in the process – will be charged with reckless driving causing death, police have confirmed.

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By The Phuket News

Tuesday 21 May 2019, 06:28PM


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.

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Jor12 | 23 May 2019 - 15:12:33

Haha...driver to check if had taken drugs/alcohol.  How silly is that? Riding on the back of the truck is irrelevant given the explanation given. It may have been too that he had suffered a medical emergency.

Timothy | 23 May 2019 - 08:30:33

Oh no! The serial apologist is back...Gee reading this stupid comment makes me think you believe the poor truck driver is a victim too.... He is reckless idiot with 11 passengers that he was responsible for. IF he was tired, pull over and rest. Falling asleep was an excuse not an explanation. If your at risk of falling asleep you stop driving!  

vegasbaby | 22 May 2019 - 20:40:00

Chinese tourists must think Thailand safety is non existent.

Kurt | 22 May 2019 - 17:04:34

Excuse or explanation, nevermind the choice of words. The driver should have checked immediately on alcohol/drug use. And why bypassing the fact that all who die/wounded were in the trunk of the pick up? A illegal and dangerous place to sit while driving. We see that over and over again all the time.  Softening thai crimes is a art on it selves.

Jor12 | 22 May 2019 - 11:32:31

What you say he should get as punishment and what the law proscribes differs.  Falling asleep was not an excuse it was his explanation. How do you know he was under the influence of drink or drugs?

BenPendejo | 21 May 2019 - 23:12:43

"The 23-year-old driver of a pickup truck... will be charged with reckless driving causing death".  So what...and nothing will happen to him, he'll confess, then go about his life. That is part of the problem, people know there are only minimal consequences. This guy should get no less than 15 years for every life he took, and 5 additional years for each person injured. Send a messag...

Kurt | 21 May 2019 - 20:59:44

What a mess! Complete out of order pick up truck. Lousy excuse of falling asleep driver. He must have used alcohol/drugs. Than a trunk full with people, which is very unsafe and illegal, and of course, the RTP all over thailand allows it. Any thai driver 'who falls asleep' should be checked on use of alcohol/drugs! When are they here going to be serious with traffic law enforcement?

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