At least four people died when a rice transport truck overturned on March 30 in O’Romduol commune’s Thnal Bat village in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district.
District governor Song Sopheak identified the victims as Suon Sochea, 17, from Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district; Udom, 25, from Prey Veng province; Mao, 33, from Kampong Speu province; and Seyha, 24, from Battambang province’s Samlot district.
“Provincial traffic specialists checked the truck and didn’t find any technical problems at all. The accident looks like it was caused because the truck was overloaded and it was coming down a steep road from the Phnom Proek Mountains. The driver could not get the truck to brake in time and it overturned,” he said.
Sopheak said that at around 2pm on March 30, the truck was seen transporting milled rice from Takeo province into the mountains. As the truck made its way down a steep road it was unable to brake and veered out of control from left to right and then overturned, killing everyone on board.
He said he and Phnom Proek district chief Heng Baraing had arrived at the scene and recovered the bodies from the truck to identify them and then find their families.
O’Romduol commune police chief Phan Sros said the truck had been transporting milled rice from Takeo province to the Cabin Market in Phnom Proek district.
Sros said that because the driver didn’t know the roads well he did not take Pongro Road as he should have. Instead, he took a detour on a road in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district – which meant that in order to get to Phnom Proek district he then had to go through the mountains on very steeply inclined roads.
“Now, this road was just recently paved. Before it was paved, it was even worse – even Thai trucks would lose control on that road. Drivers who take that road would have to shift into second gear in advance before climbing down the steep part,” he said.
Sros said that following the accident on the evening of March 30, the families of the dead had come and collected their bodies. The owners of the truck and the milled rice had resolved the matter at the police station, but the truck still needed to be towed away as of March 31.