SURAT THANI — A driver was charged with reckless driving Friday after a tour bus carrying students overturned Thursday morning during a field trip, killing one and injuring 40.
At about 6:30am Thursday a green and white tour bus carrying Matthayom 6 students on a field trip overturned in the middle of 41 Sai Asia Road in Surat Thani province.
Wiang Sa district police and rescue officials rushed to the scene of the crash, where they were met with students crying for help from inside the overturned bus.
Suwisa Chayagit, 18, became trapped under the bus and died.
Officials cut open the bus with hydraulic devices and sent four critically injured people to Crown Prince Wiangsa Hospital, including three students and a teacher.
“As of today all of the hospitalized people have recovered and are back to normal,” Police Maj. Sanchai Jaihao said Friday. “The tour bus also had insurance that completely covered the hospital costs of everyone in the bus.”
The driver, Apirak Soodeuam, claimed that a truck cut in front of the bus and forced him to quickly change lanes, making the bus lose its balance and tumble into a ditch in the median.
“He wasn’t drunk and said that a truck had cut in front of him. But we inspected and there wasn’t a truck, so I think he was either reckless or sleepy,” Sanchai said.
Police initially charged Apirak with reckless driving resulting in the death of a passenger. Sanchai said the exact charge will be determined by court.
The Hayaiwittayalai 2 School students were heading to the Chung Hua Man royal projects in Prachuap Khiri Khan for a field trip. The bus drove into a ditch when it reached Surat Thani.
According to Police Maj. Gen. Apichart Boonsriroj, the 40 students were Matthayom 6 majoring in French, chaperoned by two teachers. The school hired the tour bus from Pinyao Tananan company.
“Of course, the field trip had to be canceled,” said Sanchai. “The tour bus company and the police sent all the students back home to Hat Yai because so many were injured.”