At least 17 passengers were killed and more than dozen injured on Sunday when a bus collided with a train in Thailand, officials said.
The bus passengers were on their way to a temple in Cha Choeng Sao province – two hours from the capital Bangkok – for a ceremony to mark the end of “Vassa” (known as “Buddhist Lent”), said a district police chief.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
“The death toll we have so far is 17,” he said, adding that the accident occurred at approximately 8am (01:00 GMT).
Provincial governor Maitree Tritilanond told reporters that about 29 people had been reported injured so far.
Early images by rescue workers showed gnarled metal and debris, with bodies lying by the train tracks and people’s belongings scattered.
The bus was overturned on its side, its top ripped off, and rescue workers said a crane was needed to lift it.
The number of casualties is expected to rise.
Such deadly accidents are common in Thailand, which regularly tops lists of countries with the world’s most lethal roads, with speeding, drunk driving and weak law enforcement all contributing factors.
According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, Thailand has the second-highest traffic fatality rate in the world.
Though a majority of the victims are motorcyclists, bus crashes involving groups of tourists and migrant labourers often grab headlines.
In March 2018, at least 18 people were killed and dozens wounded when a bus carrying people returning from holiday in northeastern Thailand swerved off the road and smashed into a tree.