Six undocumented Cambodian migrant workers were killed and another 18 injured early yesterday morning in Thailand when the truck they were travelling in struck a roadside pole and overturned in a ditch, reportedly while trying to evade Thai authorities.
Sim Samath, police chief at the Poipet international border crossing in Banteay Meanchey province, confirmed the accident, which took place in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province.
“The truck overturned by itself; it didn’t crash into anyone. We haven’t gotten the identities of the dead bodies and the victims yet. Until now the bodies have not yet been sent back via Poi Pet,” he said.
Bun Sokvibol, chief of Cambodia’s consulate in Sa Kaeo, said he was also working on the case.
According to Thai police, rescuers sent to the scene came upon the overturned truck in a ditch with some of the Cambodian workers still trapped in the back. Once they were extracted from the wreckage, the 24 victims – 11 women and 13 men – were sent to local hospitals. Three women and three men were later pronounced dead.
A Cambodian survivor, identified as Sukpiab Sorn, told police that they had only just begun their journey when the driver spotted Thai officials coming up behind them and sped up in an attempt to evade them.
The truck then skidded off of the road and slammed into an electrical pole, sparks from which started a small brush fire.
Authorities said they found the driver, Sai Chalermsri, 43, unconscious near the scene of the crash, and believe he had tried to flee, but passed out due to his injuries.
Additional reporting by the Bangkok Post