Tour bus crash on Patong Hill seriously injures driver

Tour bus crashed on Patong Hill, photo by Eakkapop Thongtub.

A tour bus crashed into a power pole on Patong Hill early this morning, with the driver suffering serious injuries to his leg. The bus slammed into a power pole on the final curve heading into Patong on Phra Baramee Road at around 5am, The Phuket News reported.

Police and rescuers arrived on the scene to find the red Phiphairat Tour bus beside a roadside concrete wall. The bus’ front was heavily damaged, with the driver’s door cut off by the impact. The bus had hit the power pole before barely missing the wall. The impact of the crash disabled a government CCTV camera.

The bus driver, 37 year old Prayoon Nayao, had serious leg injuries, with bone protruding. The rescuers gave him first aid before rushing him to Patong Hospital.

The bus was one of three buses chartered to pick up staff at Patong Hospital and take them to Khao Lak, according to Pan, a driver of one of the other buses. He said the bus had been coming from Ao Makham, on Phuket’s east coast.

Pan said the crash was caused by an air brake system failure while the bus was descending the hill. He noted that the bus had been involved in accidents before.

Maj. Phacharathon Chan-iad of Patong Police said officers are continuing to investigate the accident, as it had resulted in damage to government property. Officials have not yet mentioned resuming safety checks on buses travelling over Patong Hill, which was a common practice in the past.

The Thailand Road Safety Committee (ThaiRSC) reported in January that as many as 939,713 road accidents were reported in Thailand last year, up 4.7% from 2021. Road accidents killed 14,737 people, and injured 924,799 last year, ThaiRSC said. The committee reported that 536 deaths and 7,885 injuries were among foreigners.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department’s Road Safety Centre reported 2,440 road accidents during the annual “7 dangerous days” (December 29 to January 4) when people head to their hometowns to mark the new year.

During this time there were 2,437 injuries and 317 deaths, with Surat Thani having the highest number of accidents at 79 and Kanchanaburi with the highest number of injuries at 81. Chiang Rai recorded the most deaths at 15.

Phuket News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.