In a tragic incident on December 5, 2023, a Bangkok-Nathawi tour bus crashed into a tree along Petchkasem Road, leading to 14 immediate deaths and over 30 injuries. The ill-fated accident unfolded on the southbound side of the main section, km 331-332, Village No. 7, Yang Subdistrict, Thap Sakae District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, late at night.
As per the latest updates, Acting Major Adisak Noisuwan and Mr. Khomkrit Charoenpatanasombat, Deputy Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, have taken proactive steps to address the aftermath of this public disaster. A team comprising officials from Public Health of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Police has visited the crash site in Thap Sakae District to offer support to the relatives of the injured and deceased.
Tragically, 14 lives were lost at the scene, with their identities verified at Thap Sakae Hospital. In a compassionate move, authorities expedited the process of repatriating the bodies of Muslim victims to their hometowns for religious ceremonies.
Currently, five injured individuals are receiving treatment at Thap Sakae Hospital, while 16 others are under care at Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital. Those with minor injuries have been allowed to return home. The tour bus company and The Transport Company are coordinating efforts to facilitate the transportation of the injured and deceased to their respective hometowns.
The recurring incidents involving double-decker tour buses from Bangkok to Nathawi have raised concerns, prompting the Consumer Council to advocate for a thorough transportation review. The Council emphasizes the need to revisit safety measures and is prepared to ensure fair compensation for affected passengers.
Mr. Kongsak Chuenkrailat from the Consumer Organization Council cites preliminary findings pointing to risky driver behavior and potential health issues as factors contributing to the tragedy. Additionally, discrepancies in ticketing and vehicle information highlight systemic concerns that need attention.
Calling on the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Land Transport, the Consumer Council urges an immediate review of safety measures for public buses. There’s a specific focus on regulating the quality of double-decker bus drivers, considering their higher expertise requirements. The Council insists on safeguarding the rights of passengers and their heirs, ensuring they receive adequate compensation from compulsory and voluntary insurance.
Moreover, the Council emphasizes the need for a comprehensive assessment of the safety standards of double-decker buses. It underscores the lack of transparency regarding the age, annual inspection status, insurance coverage, and adherence to slope tests for these buses operating nationwide.
In light of this incident, the Consumer Council requests detailed information regarding compensation rights for damages resulting from the bus accident. Passengers have the right to claim compensation according to the Car Accident Victims Protection Act and voluntary car insurance. For those facing difficulties in securing fair compensation, the Consumer Council offers a platform for complaints and assistance through their online portal or the Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Unit.
As the community grapples with the aftermath of this devastating accident, concerns about public bus safety and passenger rights take center stage, necessitating urgent action and comprehensive reforms.