7 die, 2 injured in Pattaya commuter minivan crash

Friday, 08 March 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 10 By  Boonlua Chatree

Seven people, including two children, one only 9 months old, were burned to death in a horrific accident when their minivan crashed into a signpost near the Bira racetrack on Highway 36.

Lottery vendors Sukhsan Bunthum, 54; his wife Siriwan, 51; niece Pinchat Thumcharoen, 7; Jamnien Singhkhet, 51, and daughter Suphakorn Singkhet, 38; and son Theeraphat Mingmit, 9 months, died with another unidentified male after the Bangkok-Rayong liquid petroleum gas-powered van burst into flames May 2. Driver Chuchart Photchai, 50, and two other passengers survived and are being treated at Queen Sirikit Hospital.

Seven people perished, including two children, when fire swept through their minivan after it crashed into a signpost near Bira Circuit on Highway 36.Seven people perished, including two children, when fire swept through their minivan after it crashed into a signpost near Bira Circuit on Highway 36.

Police said it appeared Chuchart veered sharply to the right, slamming into the “No U-Turn” sign. Investigators alleged he’d either cut off another vehicle and lost control, or had fallen asleep. He has been charged with reckless driving resulting in death.

Survivor Sreephrai Saemsuksai, 56, said the driver had spent the entire trip talking with a woman in the passenger seat.

Witnesses reported that, after the crash, fire burst from the LPG tanks in the rear of the vehicle and swept through the van.

Chumnan Thumcharoen, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, said they were on their way to Bangkok to buy more lottery tickets. He felt completely devastated after losing his family so tragically.

Buntoh Singkhet, 73, who lost three family members, said he hopes the crash prompts public officials to enact stronger measures to prevent this type of accident from reoccurring.

Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2013 09:16
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