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Three dead, 93 hurt in head-on train crash

Poor driver-to-driver communication led to two trains colliding head on, killing three people and injuring 93 others in Hua Hin district yesterday, police said. A north-bound Chumphon-Thon Buri train, with about 100 passengers, went through a red light and ran into the Bangkok-Yala sprinter, carrying more than 300 passengers, near Ban Nong Kae station.

The Yala-bound train was waiting for the train from Lang Suan, in Chumphon, to pass so it could continue south. The crash happened at about 2.30am.

Three railway employees on the sprinter _ driver Paijit Chuyada, crew member Wanida Popa and mechanic Teerapol Boonchai _ died at the scene of the accident, police said.

Ninety-three passengers were admitted to hospitals in Hua Hin.

Most were allowed to go home later yesterday, but nine were still receiving medical care last night.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) launched an investigation into the crash. Initial inquiries indicated the Thon Buri-bound train ignored a red light, officials said. The driver of the Bangkok-Yala train reportedly tried in vain to contact the other train to inform the driver of his position and ask him to slow down and wait until his train moved to another track so they could pass.

According to initial investigations, the north-bound train gave no response and ploughed head on into the sprinter.

Deputy Interior Minister Banyat Chansena, who visited injured passengers in Hua Hin yesterday, said the SRT must find the cause of the accident to avoid a recurrence. An SRT spokesman said damage was estimated at 200 million baht. It will take at least two days to remove the damaged carriages from the area.

The railway at Ban Nong Kae village was reopened to traffic later yesterday.

Social Security Office secretary-general Surin Jirawisith said compensation would be paid to all injured passengers who are members of the fund. They would receive half their monthly salary while they were being treated and unable to work.
Bangkok Post

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