(Update) 5 killed as bus overturns in Chumphon

Five passengers were killed and 38 others injured when a Bangkok-Chumphon bus ran off the highway and overturned in Chumphon's Tha Sae district early Wednesday morning.

Pol Lt Sonthaya Thaipradith, duty officer at tambon Salui police station, said the accident occurred about 3.45am on the Petchakasem highway between kilometre markers No 463-464 in Chumphon’s Tha Sae district.

The bus overturned in the right lane of the southern bound highway and was severely damaged. Police called to the scene said the bodies of five dead passengers were lying on the road.

They were identified as Phaithoon Phatthong, 54, Apinand Butpanya, 24, Krikchai Kowprecha, 40, and a Thai woman and a female foreigner.

Pol Col Narudaet Ingkhajan of the Chumphon police force identified the French casualty as Delphine Jofette Raene Kiesser, 23.

Police and rescue workers took 38 injured passengers, five of them foreigners in critical condition, to Tha Sae hospital. The foreign passengers, four males and one female, were later transferred to Chumphon hospital.

The accident had caused a traffic jam more than one kilometre long as all southern bound vehicles were forced to use only the left lane of the highway.

Witnesses told police that the bus was heading south into Chumphon’s Langsuan district. It ran off the highway at a curve and slammed into a roadside tree before overturning. The five pasengers who were killed were thrown from the bus onto the road surface.

Police were questioning the bus driver, Kamron Laila-iad, 34, about the accident.

Mr Kamron was initially charged with driving in negligence leading to the accident and causing death of other people.

Related search: fatal road accidents, bus crash, Phetkasem highway accident

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Writer: Amnart Thongdee and dpa