Tuesday, September 17, 2019

GPS on chartered van involved in Sa Kaew smash had been disabled

Aug 18. 2019
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By Thanapat Kijjakosol
The Nation

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An inspection of the chartered van, which collided with an 18-wheel truck in Sa Kaew’s Wang Somboon district early on Sunday resulting in 11 deaths and four injuries, revealed that the speed-monitoring GPS device had been disconnected prior to the crash.

The van, bearing the registration 34-0405 Bangkok, also was found to have exceeded the 90km/hour limit on six occasions (between 92km/hour to 106km/hour) since leaving Bangkok for Chanthaburi’s border checkpoint as it travelled through Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri and Sa Kaew, according to the Department of Land Transport's GPS Center.

The information was revealed by Sa Kaew Transport Office's specialist Suriya Chucherd who joined officials from the provincial disaster prevention and mitigation office and the Road Accident Victim Protection’s Sa Kaew branch office in inspecting the scene. He said the van was installed with a GPS device as required by law but that signal was disconnected from time to time. The last signal was detected in Sa Kaew and showed that the van was travelling at 85 km/hour before the signal was lost. The authorities suspect the GPS device was cut to allow the driver to speed. The 18-wheel truck's GPS device showed it was running at to 48km/hour before the crash.

The van, which was transporting Lao workers for visa renewal to the Chanthaburi immigration checkpoint, crashed at around 4am on the Sakaew-Chanthaburi Road. The accident was originally thought to have been caused by the van driver Sansern Sathongkhan, who died in the crash, falling asleep at the wheel, sending the van into the opposite lane and into the path of the oncoming truck.

The 11 bodies of the Thai van driver and 10 Lao migrant passengers will be transferred to the Royal Thai Police's Institute of Forensic Medicine in Bangkok, a police source said.

Sa Kaew govonor Wichit Chatpaisit led officials to visit the three injured victims at the Sa Kaew Crown Prince Hospital, while the slightly-injured truck driver Subin Pengmoo was treated at the Wang Somboon Hospital. Wichit was able to visit only the male passenger Thaothat Pomprasert as two others - identified as Thatthasim Sisisik and Kedsana Silipon - were in surgery. 

Only eight of the deceased have been identified including the van driver Sansern and the names of the three others, two males and one female, remain unknown. The seven deceased Lao nationals were identified as Silisack Hatihasinh; Phannthayongsa Bouakheua; Douangmala Bouakheua; Kaisone (last name unknwon); Keokounnavong Sengdeuan; Sillphone Ketsana and Nhouyphathanah Lyvong.

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