Grieving kin call for long-haul bans

Relatives of students killed and injured in the Prachin Buri bus crash on Friday morning have called for an end to long-haul student trips.

The call came as one more student hurt in the crash died on Saturday, bringing the number of deaths to 16.

The atmosphere yesterday at Wat Mai Samakhitham in tambon Chong Maew of Lam Thamenchai district of Nakhon Ratchasima, where cremation ceremonies were being prepared, was one of great sorrow.

Locals helped relatives of 10 of the dead students put the bodies into air-conditioned coffins pending funeral rites yesterday evening. Five other bodies were sent to their homes for religious rites.

The students were all from Ban Don Lop School in Lam Thamenchai.

Fifteen students and teachers were killed when a double-deck bus carrying students from Ban Don Lop School to Jomtien Beach in Chon Buri province hit a lorry and then a roadside tree as it travelled along a winding, downhill section of Highway 304 at about 5am on Friday.

Most of the victims were seated in the left side of the bus, which was torn open by the impact, with some of them being thrown out of the bus. More than 40 other students were injured.

The driver, identified as Sompong sae Bae, who was not licensed to drive a bus, fled the accident scene.

The 15 victims comprised 12 students and three teachers. The students were identified as Nareerat Bunlue, Chanisorn Boonlao, Wassana Tharam, Ariya Detnok, Anchareeya Pansaeng, Amornrat Ngarmmaroeng, Monruedee Salabun, Khatiya Phonpol, Makhasina Wiannok, Thitima Mawan, Junthamas Panpang and Jareerat Chanmanee. They were between 11 and 15 years of age. The three dead teachers were identified as Dusit Porkham, Raewwadee Detnok and Petcharin Chanmanee.

Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital reported that one of the injured students was pronounced dead on Saturday. The victim has not yet been named.

Six injured students remained in Na Di Hospital, while the remaining injured students were discharged.

Many parents and relatives of the dead and injured said they wanted this school and other educational institutes to end long-distance field trips.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday assigned caretaker Social Development and Human Security Minister Pavena Hongsakula to visit the injured victims.

Caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said a section of Highway 304 between Thap Lan and Khao Yai National Park was notorious for road accidents.

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