Phuket bus crash kills one

24 Oct 2011

One person was fatally injured when a tour bus plunged off a hilly Phuket road at the weekend. Another 20 people were also injured when the bus left the road as it was travelling between Karon and Chalong at 08:30 on Saturday.

The bus had picked up a group of Chinese tourists in Karon before the accident at the notorious Phuket blackspot. As the vehicle left the road, it snapped a heavy concrete electricity post in half before crashing through trees and landing 40m below.

Emergency services transported the injured to Vachira Phuket Hospital where the unnamed Chinese national died. Nine less seriously injured tourists were kept in for observation at this hospital while travellers in more critical conditions were sent to nearby specialist hospitals. The bus’s Thai driver is thought to be among those with severe injuries.

A mobile crane was used to lift the badly damaged tour bus back up to the road. One lane was re-opened to traffic at about 11:00, but there were long traffic tailbacks.

While emergency crews were helping injured passengers back up to the road, the driver of another bus tried to squeeze past barriers blocking the road. This vehicle got snagged on live electricity cables from the damaged post, which scored a big burn mark on the side of it.

Phuket’s hilly roads are the scene of occasional road accidents. A Patong Hill accident in March killed one and injured a number of other passengers. The brakes of another packed bus had failed on a hill just hours before this accident and it was only the driver’s quick thinking in steering into a verge that prevented a major tragedy.   

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