At least 17 killed in Thai bus crash

BANGKOK - At least 17 people were killed and dozens of others wounded when a bus travelling in northeastern Thailand veered off the road and smashed into a tree, authorities said on Thursday (March 22).

The accident occurred on Wednesday evening in Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima province with the double-decker bus carrying around 50 people returning home from a holiday.

"The current death toll is 17, and 33 are injured," an official from the Nakhon Ratchasima provincial emergency medical service told Agence France-Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Photos in local media of the accident's aftermath showed part of the bus lying on its side and officials standing beside a row of body bags.

Among the injured, some 10 people are in critical condition and receiving care at a nearby hospital, the official added.

The head of the Nakhon Ratchasima disaster prevention and mitigation department said the bus driver lost control while the vehicle was going downhill, before it veered off the road and jumped a traffic island then smashed into a large tree."The bus was torn into two parts," he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pornpattana Pisitkarn from the Udomsap police station near where the accident occurred said the bus brakes appeared to have failed.

Thailand's roads are some of the most lethal in the world, killing around 24,000 people each year according to the World Health Organisation.

More than half of accidents involve motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians though bus crashes involving tourists and migrant workers are also common.

In November, 13 Myanmar nationals were killed when their van collided with a truck in central Thailand and burst into flames.