World

16 dead in truck crash, say Thai police

A pregnant woman was among 16 people killed when the truck they were travelling in slammed into a tree in northeastern Thailand, police said, the latest major accident on the kingdom's deadly roads.

"The truck crashed into a tree – 15 passengers died at the scene and one died later at the hospital," said police Colonel Suthee Seatthawong, commander of the local police station in Buriram province.

The remaining eight passengers – who are believed to be manual labourers returning to their rural homes after working in the capital Bangkok – were all seriously injured.

Police said that the 24-year-old driver, who was among the dead, may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

"We found one tablet of amphetamine in his bag and a partially-drunk bottle of whisky," Suthee said, adding that road conditions had been good at the time of the crash early today.

All those killed, including the pregnant woman, were in their 20s, police said.

Deadly road accidents are a common occurence in 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 and 3 in Sweden.

In July at least 19 people were killed when a double-decker coach collided with a truck in central Thailand and burst into flames.

In April at least five people were killed, including a seven-month-old baby, and 53 were injured when a Thai tour bus plummeted off a hillside in the northern province of Phitsanulok after its brakes failed. – AFP, October 7, 2013.

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