Train collides with pick-up truck in Thailand, kills eight

Four people were injured in the crash at an unauthorised crossing point without barriers in Mueang district in Chachoengsao province.

In this photo released by public relations of the State Railway of Thailand
Accident was at an unauthorised crossing without any automatic barriers to stop vehicles as trains approach [State Railway of Thailand via AP]

Eight people have been killed after a freight train struck a pick-up truck that was crossing railway tracks in an eastern province of Thailand.

The accident, which occurred at 2:20am (19:20 GMT) on Friday in the Mueang district of Chachoengsao province, also injured four people, according to the State Railway of Thailand. One victim was in critical condition.

The deceased included three women aged 22, 55 and 64, and five men aged 18, 27, 55, 60 and 62, the rail agency said. The bodies were taken to a police hospital to allow relatives to prepare for religious rites.

The site of the accident on a concrete road was at an unauthorised crossing point without any automatic barriers to stop vehicles when trains approach. There are 693 unauthorised crossing points currently being used along the national rail system, the agency said.

Despite the crossing being unsanctioned, a photo of the accident site provided by authorities shows lights and warning signs there.

The 54-year-old truck driver, Wichai Yulek, told authorities he saw the approaching train and heard a warning horn. He slowed, but passengers in the vehicle urged him to keep going. When he realised the truck was headed for a collision, he could not stop in time, the railway authority said.

The truck was carrying workers to Laem Chabang in Chonburi province. One of the passengers, 20-year-old Suraphat Prasop, told authorities he saw the train approaching as the vehicle was about to cross the railway. Despite hearing the train’s horn blast three times, the driver did not stop, he said.

Deadly accidents are common in Thailand, which regularly tops lists of the world’s most lethal roads, with speeding, drunk driving and weak law enforcement all contributing factors.

The State Railway of Thailand noted it has attempted to reduce potential accidents by installing warning signs and flashing lights on both sides of the crossing.

In October 2020, 18 people were killed when a freight train crashed into a bus taking passengers to a religious ceremony.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies