29 killed in bus ravine plunge

Twenty-nine people were killed and four critically injured when a bus plunged into a deep ravine in northeast Thailand overnight, police said on Friday.

The accident occurred around midnight Thursday-Friday in Lom Sak district, Phetchabun province while the bus was en route from Khon Kaen to the northern province of Chiang Rai.

The bus crashed through the railings of the Por Khun Pa Muang bridge and hurtled into the ravine below.

"We suspect the bus driver fell asleep," Major General Sukit Samana, police commander of Phetchabun province, told AFP.

The bus had a total of 30 passengers, a driver and two staff.

A total of 29 people died at the scene, 20 men and 9 women. The other four were in critical condition at a hospital. 

"The eyewitness who informed the police said the bus went very fast before it plunged into the ravine," he said.

The bus was completely destroyed in the accident. Almost 200 rescue personnel were involved in the operation to recover the bodies from the ravine, about 50 metres below the bridge.

The accident occurred as millions of Thai motorists are expected to travel during the New Year holidays.

Deadly road accidents are common in Thailand. A total of 365 people were killed and 3,329 others injured in 3,176 traffic accidents across the country during the 2013 New Year period.

At least 20 people were killed in October when a tour bus carrying elderly Buddhist devotees plunged into a ravine in Lampang province in northeast Thailand.

A recent report by the World Health Organisation said the country saw some 38.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population, compared to an average of 18.5 in Southeast Asia as a whole.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 03/01/2014 at 05:59 PM
OH...and a giant kudos and handshake to those of the rescue teams and hospital workers that deal with this tragedy...I, myself could not perform your task...Thank you.
Discussion 2 : 01/01/2014 at 05:43 PM
What are you talking about???? How are foreigners to blame for this? This wasn't a foreign bus with foreign tourists involved. This was a Thai inter-city bus with a drugged up driver whose bosses could not care less for him or his passengers. And Samut's comment that foreigners should pay ten times the penalty for violating rules is equally as racist. Read the article
Discussion 3 : 30/12/2013 at 02:20 PM
The only solution is to implement a penalty which really hurts the pockets and in these particular case (only) foreigners violating traffic rules should be charged ten times the prices.
Discussion 4 : 30/12/2013 at 10:00 AM
Never, they are too thick.
Discussion 5 : 29/12/2013 at 10:45 AM
Thais DO know the laws of the road but because they are not enforced, Thais just ignore them. I was told by a Malaysian that Thais drive OK when in Malaysia because the laws ARE enforced there.
Discussion 6 : 29/12/2013 at 12:59 AM
R.I.P. Nick Dunbar He was one of the nicest guys you can possibly know. We became great friends since we worked together and we had a lot in common since he was half Thai/half American. My condolences go out to his family. He was so unlucky to be on this bus and on his way to visit his parents for New Years in Chiang Rai. Such a tragedy his life was taken at such a young age, in his mid-twenties. I was shocked when I learned he was on this bus. Please pray for all the families!!!!
Discussion 7 : 28/12/2013 at 11:36 AM
bluebottle, GPS technology can send a signal to the home base (bus company?) when going over the speed limit (one of the signals). They can react to rectify. Indeed someone needs to be in place and not asleep as the driver:-(
Discussion 8 : 28/12/2013 at 11:25 AM
Noooo , the passenger r not innocent...if they would together say slow down, more careful or we call your boss, it would help,,,but the thaistyle of not complaining, be polite to the death prevents all of them to say nothing.it sounds hard but with saying nothing they say "ok". + all i can say is , im sorry to the families ,,, but somnamna...
Discussion 9 : 28/12/2013 at 11:24 AM
How can the traffic rules be enforced when the different departments charged with road regulation enforcement are selectively reactive and not pro active. They will react when there is an accident, when there is traffic chaos, when it is coming to the end of a month or a holiday season is approaching and high rankers demand more coin for the coffers. The guardians of the streets in many cases cannot enforce the rules due to influential people including politico's and uniformed directors who own the transport & tour buses, truck companies and taxi collective companies who are more interested in getting richer than in public safety.
Discussion 10 : 28/12/2013 at 09:33 AM
Back in 2009 I had to take my Mother in law up to Nan on the bus because she is afraid to fly and my wife needed to use the car. She likes to sit up front so we requested seats in the front and to my horror I watched the driver take yaba pills and swallow them down with M-150 energy drinks about every other hour. When we stopped for fuel and something to eat I asked for the bus line supervisor and told him what I witnessed and he just laughed and said he would take care of it. But they allowed the same driver to board and take us to Nan. I refuse to let her ride on any bus after that.
Discussion 11 : 28/12/2013 at 07:44 AM
What I don't understand is why the foreign tour operators don't insist on a higher standard of driving/maintenance etc, to keep their customers safe. Then there are the foreigners who insist on not wearing motorcycle helmets instead of setting an example. When I was young in England it was acceptable to drink and drive (or at least people did) but nowadays you become a social outcast if you do!
Discussion 12 : 28/12/2013 at 07:39 AM
My experience with a van was so terrifying i had the driver pull over and and came close to pummeling him. Driving 100 mph with my entire family tailgating his boss in the van in front in order to pay the bribe to the highway police so he wouldn't have to. All while on his cell phone with Thai music blaring. Fifteen dollars was the bribe while risking the lives of 8 of my family members. Never again. I drive to all occasions. By far the city van drivers in Pattaya are the worst in cases of safety. Absolutely not a clue to the laws of the road. Commercial licenses must be a requirement with tests that are not a joke.
Discussion 13 : 28/12/2013 at 06:05 AM
RIP to the victims. Why isn't safety an issue after having a the #1 worldwide reputation of accidents.? #1 in Instagram, Siam Paragon, Line users ,& deplorable educational rankings doesn't count for anything. There has been several deaths on Nimitmai school in front of a Christian school . Zebra crossings were repainted only. I've seen all vehicles go about 120 km +++.
Discussion 14 : 28/12/2013 at 03:39 AM
I'm sick and tired of these thugs who couldn't care less whether you live or die! But who's to blame just as much not implementing the law? 5 out of 6 tour busses in Thailand operate without a license, and it's even worse regarding minivans, but a little tea-money is all it takes for these callous operators and drivers to keep their fleet of killing machines on the road! IT'S TIME TO GET THE WORD OUT TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, SO TO FORCE the implementation of the law, or suffer the consequences of dwindling tourist bookings and arrivals!!
Discussion 15 : 28/12/2013 at 02:49 AM
The trains are dangerous. The busses are dangerous. Vans are horrible. Speeding traffic is insane.
Discussion 16 : 27/12/2013 at 11:48 PM
of course, it is a Land of Greed man
Discussion 17 : 27/12/2013 at 11:45 PM
RIP to the innocent passengers of this bus, Far to often the reckless abandon of these drivers endangers the life's of their customers.
Discussion 18 : 27/12/2013 at 10:50 PM
When will this country have health and safety standards in all facets of life. There has been no improvement on this front in the last 30 years and the whole country is going to the shits! South Korea has overtaken us, so will china soon, Malaysia is way ahead in their safety standards. No uniformity, nothing in Thailand!
Discussion 19 : 27/12/2013 at 09:40 PM
Until driver less cars & buses become main stream nothing will change. In a country that has complete disregard for the law or worse still does not even know the law because they brought the license or just watched a video and are expected to know it all. Thailand signed up to international treaties covering road law in 1949 & 1968 and wrote it into Thai law. Thailand has good road law on the books but... My local market has stalls on the pedestrian crossing (not that they are much use as no one stops anyway). The list goes on & on.
Discussion 20 : 27/12/2013 at 08:53 PM
The strictest rules should already start for getting a bus driving licence (and any other driving licence) if you want make Thailand's roads a little bit more safe.
Discussion 21 : 27/12/2013 at 08:32 PM
sadly enough, when will they ever learn. What we need here in Thailand is much more strict rules for busdrivers, why not look to the developed countries in EU, 4 hour driving and then rest. All responsible tourist busses and long haul busses has 2 drivers one resting while the other is driving and if the rules is violated it will cost the driver a very big fee up to 150000 bht and the buscompany the double, more than 1 violates can cost the driver his license, and also if the driver is intoxicated, via alcohol or any drugs.
Discussion 22 : 27/12/2013 at 08:19 PM
Most of the rescue vehicles and the equipment look state of the art, it's a shame the same cannot be said about the majority of land transport in Thailand.
Discussion 23 : 27/12/2013 at 08:05 PM
If anyone had the gall to tell the driver to slow down or stop to rest, that person would be chastined for being rude. Plus, only a farang would deign to tell a driver to drive safely. A Thai would never do that. It might provoke the driver's anger and/or cause a loss of face for him.
Discussion 24 : 27/12/2013 at 06:36 PM
Many people are morning their lost ones today. One of the teachers from my school was on that bus. It kills me to know that that Thailand doesn't not try to improve transportation safety. I fear even with this great lost nothing will really change.
Discussion 25 : 27/12/2013 at 06:04 PM
Tez…my answer would be….many many more, there is no mandate to change
Discussion 26 : 27/12/2013 at 05:36 PM
Having used buses in Thailand a few times this terrible accident doesn't surprise me. The last time I went on one I don't think I saw as bad a driver in my life.
Discussion 27 : 27/12/2013 at 05:30 PM
im putting the figure at 348 people to die over the seven dangerous days of christmas , thailands roads need be called thailands killing fields as more die on the roads than most wars around the world . when will thailand learn?
Discussion 28 : 27/12/2013 at 05:09 PM
For your info: the same happened the same night on the Phonsavan-Luang Prabang (Laos) stretch. This bus went further down even, approx. 60m. not much was left but scattered pieces. Past by this afternoon, probably no survivors.
Discussion 29 : 27/12/2013 at 04:53 PM
I recently travelled on a bus that showed the speed on a digital display. If the bus exceeded 90kpm an alarm near the driver sounded. He ignored it. You can put all the safeguards you like in place, but unless you use them they are pointless and are there only to make money for those contracted to do the installation (plus give someone a kickback of course).
Discussion 30 : 27/12/2013 at 03:18 PM
How many more times before they stop these dangerous drivers
Discussion 31 : 27/12/2013 at 01:50 PM
Why is this industry not regulated?
Discussion 32 : 27/12/2013 at 01:15 PM
Are we discussing the same article.
Discussion 33 : 27/12/2013 at 01:13 PM
Not unless it is policed and not much chance of that I am afraid.
Discussion 34 : 27/12/2013 at 11:02 AM
Mandatory GPS trackers in all public transport, including trains, may arrest this trend.
Discussion 35 : 27/12/2013 at 10:44 AM
In terms of road accidents, the week of Songkran is the worst and the second worst is the End of year-New Year's week. This bus accident probably marks the beginning of this End of year-New Year's road accident mayhem. However, I do hope, drivers will drive carefully this year. It is not possible for the police to stop every car to ensure that they are not drunk driving. Social awareness regarding this among the people is necessary as well. Please do not let your driver drink and drive.
Discussion 36 : 27/12/2013 at 10:18 AM
The government will deny it.
Discussion 37 : 27/12/2013 at 09:53 AM
One police officer dead,and many seriously injoured,the army should go in cannot stay watching,people are still dying, so they can intervene, by stopping all the Protests, because it is harming Thailand with the World. Nearly 2 months of Protests, in democratic countries they cannot stay more than a couple of days in the streets.people arriving late at work because roar diversions. So wake up dont let it get worse.
Discussion 38 : 27/12/2013 at 09:48 AM
And the daily carnage continues!
Discussion 39 : 27/12/2013 at 09:11 AM
Off to a good start!

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