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Mangled wreckage at the scene of a violent traffic accident in Svay Rieng province on Tuesday morning. PHOTO SUPPLIED

At least 18 killed in crash

At least 18 workers have now died in the wake of a deadly Tuesday morning collision in Svay Rieng that saw a speeding bus collide with a van loaded with garment workers.

Lieutenant Gen. Ron Rothveasna, director of the Ministry of Interior's order department, said that the death toll had grown from 16 after two critically injured passengers had died in hospital. More than 20 were also injured.

Svay Rieng provincial governor Chieng Am said the incident happened at about 7am as the van traveled to the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Bavet. Sixteen workers were declared dead at the scene, including 14 women and two men.

Am said that eight other workers, six women and two men, had been seriously injured, while 14 others received slight injuries and were taken to the provincial hospital.

“It is the biggest ever accident to happen in my province,” said Am, who added that the bodies of victims had already been claimed by family members. “I think the number of deaths will increase as it hopeless for those in critical condition.”

Am said that the bus driver, employed by the Sun Hour Company, has been arrested and two seriously injured workers sent to Phnom Penh.

According to Am, the provincial Cambodian Red Cross has thus far donated 400,000 riel ($100) to each family of the victims and the provincial hall has contributed another 200,000 riel ($50) each.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony this morning at Koh Pich, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his condolence to the families of the victims.

“It is huge [traffic] incident, that happened this morning in Svay Rieng,” he said. “I would like to share my condolences to the families of the victims and wish the quick recovery of those injured.”

By law, the Social Security Fund of the Ministry of Labor will cover the cost of the funerals and medical expenses as well as provide compensation to the families of the victims.

This story has been updated with new information.
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