11 Killed After Truck Crashes Van Carrying Migrant Workers

Crash scene on Route 317 in Wang Sombun district, Sakaeo on Aug. 18.
Crash scene on Route 317 in Wang Sombun district, Sakaeo on Aug. 18.

SA KAEO — Eleven people died after a van carrying Laotian migrant workers collided with a truck in an eastern province on Sunday morning.

Police Col. Seksan Wattanapong, deputy commander of the Sa Kaeo police, said the van was carrying migrant workers from Bangkok to Chanthaburi when it crashed with an 18-wheel truck on Route 317 in Wang Sombun district at around 4.15am.

Seksan believes that the driver of the van, who died at the scene, fell asleep after hours of driving. Half of the van was crushed, with parts falling off on the street, while the truck sustained minor damage.

Ten Laotian passengers in the van died, according to the police. The driver of the trailer truck and the other three people were injured.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident. Truck driver Subin Pengmoo said the van skid off its lane from the opposing direction and collided into his vehicle at a high speed.  

GPS logs recovered from the van indicated that the vehicle was cruising at 88kph shortly before the crash, but investigators found multiple instances of speeding in the record of its route.

The crash came amid backlashes against transport minister Saksayam Chidchob, who recently dropped a plan to switch from public vans to more durable minibuses. The proposal was floated by the previous government in 2017 as a bid to reduce deaths and injuries related to vans.

Saksayam also extended the services of public vans from 10 to 12 years, raising concerns that outdated vehicles would be used on the roads.

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