5 die, 53 hurt in bus cliff plunge

Five people died and 53 others were injured when a tour bus travelling from Udon Thani to Chiang Mai plunged down a roadside cliff into a ravine in Phitsanulok early Monday, police said.

  • Published: 8/04/2013 at 09:24 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

The bus, with the Udon Thani licence plate No 30-0365, belongs to Jakkrapong Tour company.

Pol Capt Saneh Promrat, duty officer at Nakhon Thai police station, said the bus was heading to Chiang Mai in the far North. The driver lost control and it hurtled off the road and down a cliff on the Nakhon Thai-Dan Sai road in Phitsanulok's Nakhon Thai district at about 2am.

One of the five people who died was a foreign woman tourist named as Sofie Marain, 21, a Belgian national. The four others were Thais - two women, one man named as Pornsak Sawekwong, 33, and a baby boy, Chaimongkol Charoensaen, aged seven months.

Thirty-nine of the injured were taken to Dan Sai hospital and 11 others were taken to Nakhon Thai Crown Prince hospital. One of the injured passengers is a foreign woman tourist named as Magdalena Jaworska, who is four months pregnant. 

A 30-year-old Belgian man and a Japanese man were among the injured.

The bus driver is also among the injured. Police have not yet released his name.

Rescue units took over two hours to extricate the bus passengers from the mangled wreckage at the bottom of the ravine and send them to hospitals.

Pol Capt Saneh said the cause of the fatal accident was being investigated. It was possible the tour bus had a brake problem.

"The bus had problems with its brakes and was speeding before it crashed over the cliff," Pol Capt Saneh said.

Passengers had smelled something burning and the driver, who is in a critical condition, had stopped to try and fix the problem before the crash, he said.

Photos by Chinawat Singha

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