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Police direct a tide of vehicles past the scene of a traffic accident yesterday in Kampong Speu’s Chbar Mon district that injured 35 people and claimed one life. Photo supplied

Teen worker killed in crash

A head-on collision yesterday morning between a vehicle carrying garment workers to their job and a freight truck left one dead and 35 injured in Kampong Speu province.

Chea Sovanny, a 19-year-old female garment worker from Samrong district, was declared dead at the scene following the crash on National Road 4, which happened shortly before 7am, according to Lay Khen, a Chbar Mon town official whose son was due to marry her in January.

Local authorities yesterday said dozens more injured workers from Generation shoe factory and the driver of the truck, 33-year-old Keat Sambo, were hospitalised.

Noy Sarith, Rakar Thom commune police chief, said that 15 victims were sent to the Sok Na private hospital, while 14 – including Sambo who suffered a broken left leg – were sent to Om Sarorn private hospital. Six victims who sustained more serious injuries were sent to the Kampong Speu Provincial Hospital.

Bystander Tol Suy, 48, said the crash happened after “the container truck overtook a motorbike . . . and veered into the van carrying the workers that was running in the opposite direction with full force”.

He said the driver of the freight truck quickly fled the scene.

Thorng Virak, director of Generation factory’s chapter of the Cambodian Union Federation (CUF), visited the three hospitals yesterday. He said the six victims at the provincial hospital were “lying unconscious”, while 12 others had sustained broken bones.

CUF country director Chuon Momthol appealed to authorities to find and punish the runaway truck driver.

Officials said they had impounded both vehicles and were searching for the suspect.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng issued a letter expressing condolences to the victims’ families.

Cheav Vunrith, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) spokesman, said a team is working to help cover medical expenses for the injured, while 4 million riel (about $986) will be provided to cover funeral costs for Sovanny’s family, some of whom will receive long-term support.

“Family members . . . over 55 years old will be supported by the [NSSF] for the rest of their lives,” Vunrith said.

Sovanny’s parents, Chum Chenda and Chea Savoeun, yesterday paid tribute to their “gentle, friendly and loving” daughter.

Khen said the family was still coming to terms with the news of her tragic death.

“When police called . . . we were terribly shocked since she [Sovanny] had just had breakfast with us before going to work and only 15 minutes had passed,”

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