4 dead from 1 family in Thai crash
A HORRIFIC bus crash in Thailand which killed 13 Malaysian tourists and injured several others, left four members of the same family dead, it was reported yesterday.
The four dead spanned three generations, including an 85-year-old grandmother and her 39-year-old granddaughter, according to the The Star newspaper in Malaysia.
"We are all in shock," a relative of the family in Malaysia was quoted as saying by The Star. Two members of the family survived the accident.
Some 22 Malaysians, mostly elderly, had gone to Chiang Mai last Thursday for a five-day tour organised by Malaysian tour operator Chiu Travel.
The accident occurred on Sunday in Doi Saket district 30km from the northern city of Chiang Mai.
Chiu Travel manager Terence Yung told Agence France-Presse that the company had flown 15 Malaysian relatives of victims to Thailand and they were expected to reach Chiang Mai last evening to help identify bodies.
Thai police said a total of 14 people were killed in the accident - 13 Malaysians and one Thai. Malaysia's foreign ministry and Chiu Travel confirmed the number of Malaysians killed in the crash at 13. Chiu Travel said one Thai tour guide had died as well.
Images posted online by Thai news outlets showed a scene of devastation as rescuers battled to reach those trapped inside the smashed bus, which had come to rest in thick foliage with its roof caved in. Some of those still inside had suffered severe injuries.
Mr Yung said his company was still trying to find out how the accident happened. He said, based on information received from Thailand, the crash was a result of the driver trying to overtake another vehicle.
Thailand's The Nation newspaper earlier quoted a rescue worker as saying that the bus driver had fled an earlier accident with a pick-up truck in the Danmae Kajan area of Chiang Rai.
The truck driver, who was not hurt, chased after the bus and alerted the police, who also started the search for the bus.
According to local news reports, the bus hit another car, skidded off the road and rammed into a power cable pole before tumbling down a slope lined with boulders and trees.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sent his condolences on his Facebook page.
"I am saddened to hear news of the accident in Chiang Mai where 13 Malaysians died and express my condolences to the victims' families," he wrote.
"The government would ensure every effort is made in bringing home the victims' bodies and helping the victims' families."