Police suspect van driver might have temporarily fallen asleep while driving

Police suspected that the driver of an ill-fated passenger van involved in a road carnage on Monday which killed 25 people in Chon Buri might have temporarily fallen asleep while driving because no tyre traces were found on the road which would suggest that he applied the brake.

The fully-packed passenger van jumped the road island into the opposite lane and collidedheadon with an oncoming packed pick-up truck. Also the accident scene was not a curve as the road is straight, said Chon Buri governor PakkathornThienchai on Tuesday.

As for the dead victims, he said that the provincial administration would compensate 700,000 baht for each victim.

Transport Minister ArkhomTermpittayapaisit, meanwhile, said initial findings showed that the van had been inspected in September and there was no problem with the gas tank. The fire which eventually engulfed the two vehicles might have been started from the ignition system, he noted.

The minister explained that vans were designed to carry goods, but, in Thailand, they were modified and used to carry passengers. He indicated that the ministry would consider limiting the number of passenger vans in the future.

Meanwhile, Pol Maj-Gen PornchaiSutheerakhun, director of the Forensic Science Institute at the Police General Hospital, said that the institute had received 25 bodies from the deadly accident for identification.

Noting that all the bodies were badly burned with their faces burned beyond recognition, he admitted that identification was rather difficult. Officials would need to check the DNA of the close relatives to match with those of the dead victims, he said, adding that evidences of birth marks or tattos and others which would help identify the bodies from the relatives would be most welcomed.

Pol Maj-Gen Pornchai said he understood the wish of some relatives to get the bodies for funeral but he stressed that official need to accurately identify the bodies to prevent complications in the future if the wrong bodies were discharged to the relatives.

He, however, assured that he would speed up the identification process.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)