Police said 15 people died at the scene. The others, all seriously injured, were rushed to Buri Ram hospital, where three more people succumbed to their injuries.
The Toyota pickup, adapted to carry passengers, was initially reported to be carrying a total of 23 men and women heading to Ubon Ratchathani. It ran off the Buri Ram–Satuk road, part of Highway 219, in tambon Ban Dan of Ban Dan district. However, the number of people on the crashed vehicle was not immediately clear.
A staff member at Buri Ram hospital, who refused to be identified, said 15 died instantly at the scene, 11 injured were sent to the hospital and three of them died at the hospital, for a total of 26 people on one pickup.
Police and a rescue team rushed to the scene as soon as the accident was reported. Bodies were scattered on the ground outside the vehicle, with bodies still trapped inside the twisted wreckage.
The driver, Chavalit Thavornkham, 24, was killed instantly.
An initial investigation found that the truck left Samut Prakan to deliver the passengers to Ubon Ratchathani. It was not clear why it was travelling through north Buri Ram.
Pol Col Suthee Setthawong said the pickup was carrying construction workers. Many had no ID documents on them and were thought to have come from Laos.
Witnesses said the driver appeared to lose control and the vehicle veered off the road and continued for about 100 metres before ramming into a tree.
It was suspected the driver fell asleep on the straight road. Police found a methamphetamine tablet amongst his clothing and a bottle of alcohol in the pocket of the driver’s door.