Phuket Chinese New Year tour bus slams into motorcyclists, houses

PHUKET: A bus hired by a tour company to take Chinese tourists on a four-day excursion from Krabi to Phuket slammed into two motorcyclists last night, before careening into five shophouses.

One of the motorbike riders remains in hospital with head injuries. The 13 Chinese tourists on the bus were unscathed, receiving only minor cuts and bruises.

“We received a call at about 7pm that a tour bus had crashed near Wat Suwankiriwong, at the bottom of Patong Hill,” said Lt Sineenart Cherdchootrakulthong of the Patong Police.

“According to the bus driver, Somkid Matchakarn, 49, he lost control of the vehicle after its brakes failed – first slamming into the two motorcyclists, and then careening into a row of shophouses, before coming to a halt,” said Lt Sineenart.

One of the motorbike riders received serious head injuries and was rushed to Patong Hospital. He has since been transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.

“The other rider only received minor cuts and bruises. She has already been discharged from Patong Hospital,” said Lt Sineenart.

None of the residents in the five shophouses were injured.

“I was hired by a Chinese tour company called Jen Tai to bring [Chinese] tourists to Phuket for four days,” Mr Somkid told police.

“This was our last day – we were about to head back to Krabi,” he added.

“I am really sorry about he accident, I lost control of the bus and didn’t know what to do.”

Lt Sineenart said Mr Somkid had been charged with reckless driving, causing injury to others and damaging property.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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