Foreign Tourists Killed in Another Bus Crash in Thailand

July 3, 2012

News is just coming in of another night bus crashing in Thailand. First reports suggest that ten people have been killed in this accident, 5 foreigners and 5 Thais (*). There were also 17 injured, 10 of whom are seriously injured. The 24-seater VIP tour bus left Bangkok at 7:30 p.m. and was heading to the holiday island of Koh Pha Ngan. The accident happened at about 5:30 a.m. this morning in Surat Thani. The coach crashed into an electricity pole and rolled over. Police at the scene told reporters that it looks like that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The driver was among the dead. At this moment, the nationalities of the dead are unknown. Follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow and @191Thailand for all the latest news.

If you have been following my @191Thailand Twitter account you would probably know already that road accidents involving buses and passengers vans happen often. I always advise people to avoid night buses in Thailand as they have a bad reputation. The southern route in particular is notorious for robberies. Many foreign tourists have complained that their bags were ransacked and things stolen while they were sleeping. Just recently, a foreign tourist was stabbed by a bus attendant while they were arguing about missing valuables. Many of these buses are operating illegally and without license. Drivers are not checked for alcohol levels or drugs and are sometimes known to fall asleep at the wheel.

(*) Newspapers the next day are saying 6 foreigners dead though only one Indian has been named so far.

UPDATE: List of people who were injured

1. Roberta (Bertie) Norton, British

2. Jonathan Bennet, British

3. Push Pinder Kuma, India

4. Pinry Jain, India

5. Aashima Jain, India

6. Jasmine Maglige, Luxembourg

7. Figue Magias Michael, Luxembourg

8. Kapl Gaya, Zimbabwe

9. Thitima Klomklieng, 27, Thai

10. Phirasak Yensiri, 26, Thai

11. Sodsai Kakarun, 21, Thai

12. Namphet Poonperm, 41, Thai

13. Komsan Nuntasahakitnukul, 36, Thai

14. Jiraporn Laokamkaew, 43, Thai

15. Prom Pijaranapong 64, Thai

16. Pitawun Suwanprasert, 35, Thai

Surat Thani Hospital  (66 77) 272 231 and (66 77) 284 231; and Kanjanadit Hospital at (66 77) 244518-9.

18 Responses to Foreign Tourists Killed in Another Bus Crash in Thailand

  1. Athena on July 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    With frequent train and bus accidents (almost monthly) it is probably safer to fly around Thailand now

    • Richard Barrow on July 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I disagree. I think trains are far safer than buses. Not everyone can afford to fly but trains are a lot cheaper. I know they don’t go everywhere, but I would personally take an overnight train and then switch to a local bus to complete the journey. I would never take an overnight bus in Thailand. If you do, then make sure it is an official bus. Also, check to see if the seats are bolted down! May seem strange but during an accident, you don’t want to get hit by a flying seat.

  2. Athena on July 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I remember this crash

    • Richard Barrow on July 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

      That was a bad one but it happened three years ago. Train crashes like that don’t happen that often. If you follow my @191Thailand Twitter account you might have seen many train derailments recently, but those mainly resulted in injuries. Most deaths this year were from pedestrians or vehicles or level crossings. Trains are still safer than buses in Thailand.

  3. Nick Matalski on July 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    What about BKS are they better?

  4. Camille on July 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    RIP to the victims, I support your advise Richard, take trains if you can’t afford flying but stay clear of the night buses.

  5. sarah yuen on July 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I was on the 730pm bus to samui from bangkok last night – VIP – but from Mochit. We had a very good driver who sent very sedately. There were buses literally flying past us in the outside lane doing almost twice our speed. I dithered over which terminal to leave from. I am very glad I chose Mochit. There has to be serious punishments for minibus and coach drivers who think they can defy the law of physics. I have taken the keys off a driver at least once, but too many people just sit in terror and do nothing.

  6. Thailand Property on July 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    RIP!
    I hardly ever travel by bus in Thailand due to accidents like this.
    Where I live in Khanom midway between Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat I see and hear about bus accidents every single week…

    So when I travel I travel by car or fly to my destination.

  7. Dongho Won on July 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

    What’s the name of the coach operator?

    • Richard Barrow on July 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      The Transport Co., Ltd

      • Dongho Won on July 5, 2012 at 5:29 am

        I’ve heard that the operator’s 999 coaches always have a serious problem in safety.

  8. Brian on July 4, 2012 at 6:02 am

    This is the Thai way.do before thinking always.

    • Dongho Won on July 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

      This kind of accident usually happen in all around the world, not only in Thailand but also in UK! Don’t say Thai way.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6230715.stm

      • andrew on July 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        Dongho Won – Thank you for pointing to a BBC story which says that bus travel is the safest means of transport in the UK. I does not usually happen. When two people are killed it is big news and makes the BBC.
        The accident rate in Thailand is more than six times the per capita rate in the UK. QED.
        It is the Thai way because Thais do not have to pass anything like a rigorous driving tests and have learned no sense of lane control. It is not a racial thing. It is a fact.

  9. Wesley Butters on July 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Please update the names & Nationalities -
    Roberta (Bertie) Norton – not Roverta Nortun!
    Jon Bennett – British!

    R.I.P to all the vcitims and speedy recovery to all the survivors!

  10. Richard Barrow on July 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Andrew Drummond has done a follow up story called: British Tourist DID Beg Bus Driver in Fatal Crash – SLOW DOWN!

  11. Thomas on July 6, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I totally agre with Mr Barrow !
    Thai have no sense of lane control at all !!!
    I have done a lot of (night)buses in Thailand, and I have survived a bus crash as well on exactly the same highway close to this one !
    I’m one of the lucky few…
    Best advise : NEVER EVER TAKE A NIGHTBUS in Thailand.
    And it has nothing to do with racist vieuws, I LOVE Thailand,
    it’s just common sense and experience…

    RIP for all victims !

  12. Robet on July 9, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Today’s Bangkok Post is reporting that the bus was speeding before the accident and that one passenger had complained to the driver about his recklessness. The drivers response was to stop and invite anyone who did not his driving to get off the bus. The accident happened shortly afterwards.

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