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Phuket bus crash firm bars drivers from using Patong Hill of Death

PHUKET: Natalie Tour, whose bus crashed at the bottom of Patong Hill on December 29, killing two people and seriously injuring seven more, has announced that it is no longer sending its buses over Patong Hill from Kathu to Patong.


By Wiparatana Nathalang

Monday 13 January 2014, 04:53PM


December's crash. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

December's crash. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

The driver has also been charged with reckless driving causing loss of life.

The provincial government is planning to introduce a ban on tour buses going that way, but Natalie Tour decided to do it voluntarily, immediately after the accident, because it believes the steep and windy final section of the hill is just too dangerous for buses.

Despite the charge against driver Chanchai Nuisanga, 36, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Natalie Tour, Somkiet Maikoksung, said, “It was not the driver’s fault. Passengers told me that the driver was driving carefully the entire time.

The accident happened because of the heavy traffic on the steep hill. This caused the driver to use the brakes too much on the way down.

“The brakes ran out of compressed air for a few seconds, which is when the accident took place. The brakes were working normally again when the bus was inspected after the accident.”

Air brakes, when repeatedly pumped, quickly run out of compressed air, which is used to press the brake pads onto the brakes.

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Asked what would happen to the driver Mr Nuisanga, Mr Somkiet said, “The driver was charged with reckless driving causing loss of life and has been bailed out by Wiriya Insurance.

His leg was broken in the accident and he is resting at home, waiting for his court appearance.”

But, he insisted, “We will continue to employ him when he is able to come back to work. We are on his side. We guarantee that our driver shifted down to a low gear before the accident happened and the bus was in good condition.”

As a precaution, since the day of accident we have decided not let our buses use that route again.”

 

 

 

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