(17 July) More than a
dozen of foreign tourists were admitted to hospital after their tour bus crashed into a bridge
crossing Tapee River in Mueang District, Surat Thani province.
At the scene, police
found the bus, registered to A.S.R. Transport Inc., stuck beneath the Tapee River Bridge near the
province′s City Pillar Shrine, with half of its roof slid off.
The driver fled the scene but
was later apprehended by the police. He was identified as Mr. Anurak Puphiromya, 34, a resident of
Huay Kwang District, Bangkok.
Mr. Anurak told the police that Songserm Rungrueng Tour had
hired him to take foreign tourists from Krabi province to Surat Thani province.
incident, he said, he dropped off 17 tourists at Pun-Pin Train Station, and he was bringing the rest
of the group – numbering 22 tourists – to a pier where they can catch ferries to Koh Pangan, the
island famous for its Full Moon Party.
According to Mr. Anurak, he became unfamiliar with the
route as he entered Mueang District, so he asked directions from a local resident, who generously
drove a car ahead of the bus to lead him.
Mr. Anurak claimed he did not notice the bridge in
front of him, which was only 2.8 metres high above ground, as he was focusing with the leading car.
Moments later, his tour bus, height 3.3 metres, crashed squarely into the bridge.
tourists were transported to Taksin Hospital. Among them, 10 tourists had severe head injuries and needed X-Ray
scan, while another 6 were slightly injured with bruises. The rest were unharmed.
Songsermsungrueng Tour said it has provided help and accommodation for the tourists
who were affected by the incident, and would provide transport to deliver the tourists to their
destination the day after.
The police charged Mr. Anurak with reckless driving and causing
injuries and damages. Police said they would investigate whether the suspect was under influence of
alcohol or any drug as he drove the bus.