Driver killed, 6 students hurt in van-truck collision

Driver killed, 6 students hurt in van-truck collision

Police say van driver might have dozed off before rear-ending trailer truck

Rescue workers try to retrieve the dead and injured people from the wreckage of a passenger van after it rear-ended an 18-wheel trailer truck on the Bangkok-bound motorway in Chon Buri on Saturday morning. (Photo from Trikhunnatham.SoS rescue Facebook page)

CHON BURI: A driver was killed and six female students hurt when a passenger van they were travelling in rear-ended a trailer truck on the Bangkok-bound motorway in Muang district early Saturday morning. The incident occurred at kilometre maker 68 on the motorway in tambon Na Pa, said highway police, who were alerted at around 5.30am. Police arriving at the scene found the Bangkok-Chanthaburi passenger van with Bangkok licence plates was badly damaged.

The driver and passengers were trapped inside the wreckage. Rescue workers retrieved the body of a man, identified later as driver Saroj Khlabkhlai, 33 from the driver’s seat. Six passengers — one university student and five high-schoolers — were hurt and rushed to nearby hospitals, Thai media reported.

Not far from the van, an 18-wheel trailer truck loaded with steel rods was found parked, with its rear partly damaged. Somthin Wilawan, 48, the truck driver, told police he was transporting steel rods from Laem Chabang port to Samut Prakan when he heard something hit the rear of his vehicle. He initially thought some steel rods might have fallen.

When he went to check, he saw the passenger van  had struck the truck, and he immediately alerted police.

Of the six injured passengers, the five Mathayom Suksa 5 students said they had boarded the van from their school in Chanthaburi to go to Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok.

Police believe the van driver might have dozed off, causing his van to hit the trailer truck.

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