NAKHON RATCHASIMA — The families of those killed in a bus crash trickled in to retrieve their loved ones’ bodies Thursday as footage spread of passengers having fun before the deadly wreck.
Family members identified husbands, grandchildren and aunts who died when their bus hurtled over a center divider, clipped an oncoming truck and crashed into roadside shops last night in the Wang Nam Khiao district of Nakhon Ratchasima. Survivors and witnesses were on hand to recount what happened.
“The bus had been shaking side to side before the crash. I heard someone yell, ‘Brakes out!’ And many people in the bus got down on the floor,” Somjit Jampasri, one of the survivors, said this morning. “After the crash, I saw many dead people drowning in pools of blood.”
The double-decker bus went over the traffic island on the 304 Road after possible brake failure and broke apart after crashing into a tree and five roadside shops.
Although fatal bus accidents are common occurrences, no other accident has seized as much attention since 25 people were killed in a fiery Chonburi province wreck in January 2017, an accident that led to higher safety requirements for interprovincial vans.
The deceased bus passengers – 13 women and five men – included two girls and a boy. One family alone lost four people.
The trip was organized by Sompit Suthichom, and on the morning of the crash, she live streamed several videos of passengers dancing and having fun on the bus.
Today, family member Pairote Wangpikul, 58 of Kalasin province, was mourning Sompit, who died alongside her her husband and two grandchildren.
“I feel so sad. The family’s business was doing so well too,” Pairote said. “I don’t know what to do except wait to receive their bodies.”
A police review of GPS data found that the bus was traveling only 80kph at the time of the collision, lending credence to the possibility its brakes failed.
The driver fled the scene and is still on the run.
The bus was carrying 47 tourists from a beach in Chanthaburi province back to Kalasin province. Most were rice mill workers. Their bodies are currently at Wang Nam Khiao, Pak Thong Chai and Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima hospitals.
Kalasin Gov. Kraisorn Kongchalard said that the families would get about 650,000 baht compensation per victim.