Survivors of the road accident which killed at least 10 people on National Road 4 in Kampong Speu province on Saturday night claimed that the driver of the Virak Buntham minibus – one of the three vehicles involved in the collison – was responsible for the crash.
The victims and their families also demanded compensation from the vehicle’s operator, Virak Buntham Express Tour & Travel, to cover their medical expenses and the deceased’s funeral costs.
Chhuon Kavy, 43, took the Phnom Penh bound minibus with her husband Sot Va, 46, and their 16-year-old daughter Va Rachana.
They were en route to their home in Prey Veng province after working at a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province.
“The [minibus] driver tried to overtake another vehicle but collided with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction, killing five passengers, including my husband, and injuring other passengers. A moment later, the lorry collided with another car. [Both] vehicles burst into flames and more people were killed,” Kavy recounted.
After the crash, Kavy said she was mildly injured and was admitted to a private clinic, where she spent $120 on medical expenses, including one IV bag and two injections.
She continued that once her condition improved she returned to the accident scene and found her daughter hugging her dead father’s body.
In what was likely to be a desperate situation, they appealed to the authorities for help in transporting the deceased’s body to their home province, but to no avail.
Kavy said she was approached by a man who claimed he could provide an ambulance service for $1,000.
“I don’t have that much money. Then, I asked him to take my husband’s body to a pagoda, about 2km from the accident site, for cremation. He demanded $70. My daughter and I begged for a lower price and offered only $50 to the driver."
“My family is very poor. I hope the authorities will intervene and ask Virak Buntham to give us compensation to cover the funeral expenses of my husband who was killed in the accident,” she told The Post on Monday.
Similarly, the provincial deputy police chief in charge of road traffic – Tab Lon – previously said a joint police committee had determined that this horrific accident was caused by the Virak Buntham minibus.
Lon told The Post on Monday that the authorities were still working “to find justice for the victims and look for the lorry driver whose identity is yet to be known”.
“Virak Buntham agreed to deal with the problem in accordance with the law and promised to provide compensation to the affected passengers and their families accordingly,” he said.
Long Naphal, the head of general administration at Virak Buntham Express Tour & Travel, said the insurance firm that works with his company was verifying the initial assessments made by the police.
“The insurer will pay compensation to the victims according to the law,” he said.