Thirty Russian tourists were injured when their Kanchanaburi-bound tour bus skidded off the road and crashed into a utility pole near Pattaya.
Three Russian women – Galina Katorova, 59, Anzhelika Sotnikova, 39, and Nadezda Anokhova, 35 – immediately were placed in critical condition. Other injured passengers identified were Gary Pomeransev, 75, Tatiana Dolgintceva, 27, Larisa Bolshova, 52, Andrey Sivoplias, 35, Misha Anokhon, 12, Alexsandr Kartkev, 35, Valeriia Sotnikova, 20, and Kristina Khomenko, 25, and a 7-year-old boy.
Russian tourists sit forlornly by the side of the road after the bus they had been traveling in skidded off the road, overturned and crashed into a utility pole near Pattaya.
Fifty-one passengers were aboard the double-decker bus. Thirteen were taken to Somitiwej Sriracha Hospital and another 10 to Phyathai Sriracha Hospital, both in Sriracha.
The Nov. 15 crash, the latest in a string of mishaps to injure or kill Pattaya-area tourists, occurred on a stretch of Highway 36 in Bung District before the Nong Kwae Bridge. Driver Preecha Ramwong, 50, insisted to police he was driving within the speed limit, but lost control of the bus after he was cut off by an overtaking car.
Police arrested Preecha on reckless-driving charges, speculating that, in fact, he fell asleep behind the wheel. The crash occurred around 6:30 a.m. as the tourists were headed for a day of elephant trekking in Kanchanaburi.
The accident occurred less than two weeks after a ferry capsized off Koh Larn, killing seven tourists, including a 12-year old Russian boy. Moscow media reports that Thailand now holds the 2013 record for the greatest number of accidents involving Russian tourists. Since January, there have been 30 accidents involving Russians.