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Accident

Six tourists among 10 dead in coach crash

Six foreign tourists and four other people were killed yesterday when their coach, bound for Koh Pha Ngan, blew a tyre at high speed, veered into a divider strip and slammed into a power pole before flipping on its side in a ditch.

The bus had left Bangkok and was carrying 24 passengers as well as the driver and two attendants at the time of the crash in Surat Thani's Kanchanadit district.

All of the 17 survivors sustained serious injuries. One of the dead foreigners was an Indian named James Amit, while the others were yet to be identified.

Police Colonel Suriya Nakkaew, superintendent of Kanchanadit Police Station, said the bodies of the 10 dead were taken to Surat Thani Hospital.

An inquiry suggested the bus may have been speeding when its right front tyre suddenly burst, causing the driver to lose control.

Witnesses told police the bus hit a traffic island at a U-turn before crashing into a power pole and plunging into the roadside gully.

High-tension lines were downed and the bus leaked gas when police and rescue workers arrived at the scene of the crash.

The electricity had to be cut off and fire engines were called before rescue workers started retrieving survivors from the mangled bus.

"Of the survivors, six are being treated at Kanchanadit Hospital and the rest at Surat Thani Hospital," Suriya said.

Governor Cherdsak Chusri and Panu Woramit, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Surat Thani Office, who visited the injured at Surat Thani Hospital, said they would help contact the relatives of the injured foreigners and help them get back to home countries.

The injured foreigners were Roverta Nortun (British), Jonathan Bennet, Push Pinder Kuma (Indian), Pinry Jain (Indian), Aashma Jain (Indian), Jasmine Maglige (Luxembourg), Michael Figue Magias (Luxembourg) and Kapi |Gaya (Zimbabwe).

The officials said they would also ensure that the dead foreigners' bodies would be sent back to their relatives in their countries.


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