At least eight people were killed, a monk among them, and 28 others injured when a bus collided with a crane truck in Battambang province on Saturday afternoon.
The accident took place on National Road 5 as the bus passed through Prey Domrey village in Mong Russey district’s Prey Touch commune, said Sat Kemsan, the province’s top traffic police officer.
According to Kemsan, the victims are yet to be named, although he could confirm that a monk, the bus driver, ticket collector and the driver of the crane truck were among the eight dead.
Local media have published photos of the crash site in which both vehicles are shown mangled and rolled on their sides, surrounded by the broken bodies of the deceased.
“Most of the dead had broken arms, legs and heads and were sandwiched between the vehicles, while most of the injured were trapped in their seats,” Kemsan said. “During the rescue operation, the authorities had to cut and pull the seats out of the bus to drag them out. The operation lasted nearly an hour.”
Three of the injured passengers were sent to Mong Russey district’s referral hospital for treatment, while the remaining 25 are being cared for at Battambang Provincial Hospital.
Just five passengers escaped unscathed – all of them children aged between 3 and 5 years old.
The dead have been sent home so that funeral preparations can begin.
Kemsan assigned blame for the crash to the bus driver, saying he had been drowsy at the wheel and veered into the oncoming crane truck.
“A representative of PS Transportation Company showed up and took responsibility,” said Kemsan.
“But a representative of the crane truck’s owner has not come and filed a complaint to demand compensation yet.”
Representatives of the bus company, PS Transportation Company, were not reachable for comment yesterday.
The last time a road accident of this severity took place in Cambodia was in January, when the tyre blew out on a bus travelling through Pursat province, causing it to careen into an oncoming truck leaving five killed and 19 injured.
Another crash near the Thai border killed 17 last August. Passengers on that bus had been travelling from Phnom Penh to conduct a religious ceremony at Brasat Tamoan pagoda.